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April 30, 2012

11:58 PM: 5-2 is a final...the Kings lead the series 2-0, heading home...

Keep in mind, while St. Louis spent most of the season in 1st or 2nd, L.A. for a while, was 3rd in the conference, depending on the Pacific division standings...so even though they've come into the playoffs as 8th seed, they are far from it...and they are showing it...

Tomorrow night, only 1 game - New Jersey-Philadelphia Game 2...

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11:36 PM: Penalty filled 2nd, and 3rd so far, as the intensity level in this series has hit the boiling point...no surprise, given the score...

David Backes has set up Matt D'Agostini for his 1st of the playoffs, 5:16 of the 3rd...but it's L.A. with the 5-2 lead...

8 roughing minors in the 3rd alone...6 more in the 2nd, and a charging minor...yes...it's been rough alright...

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10:13 PM: Caps win 3-2, series is tied 1-1...Rangers must have hit 3 posts in that 3rd period...

If St. Louis wants to tie their series, they'd better get to work...they got one early in the 2nd, Andy McDonald with his 5th, from David Backes and Kris Russell, but L.A. has just restored the 4 goal lead... Brian Elliott is still in goal, Halak is still scratched...so if Ken Hitchcock wants to pull him, he'll have to put in 21 year old Jake Allen...has the bubble finally burst for Elliott...again?!?

It's 5-1, Kings...

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9:58 PM: 12:33 of the 3rd, guess who makes it 3-2, Capitals...Ovechkin, from Nick Backstrom...on a power play while Brad Richards was in the box a whole 4 seconds for a hold on John Carlson...

Thought I saw Ovie cupping his ear with his hand as if to say, "I can't hear you Ranger fans"...

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9:54 PM: Jeff Carter with his 1st, Penner with his 2nd assist on the night...at 18:37...that made it 3-0...then Kopitar, again, his 3rd, from Justin Williams and Brown, at 19:43...

Shots on goal were 16-5, Los Angeles...we weren't supposed to see Jaroslav Halak for the first two games of this series, but I wonder if we will now...

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9:53 PM: The Kings are out to the most dangerous lead in hockey...3-0...

Better make that 4-0...never mind...

Stats coming up...the 1st period is almost over...

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9:48 PM: Tied 2-2...the Rangers, on a power play...they're saying Ryan Callahan tipped in a Michael Del Zotto shot...Richards, as in Brad, gets a secondary assist...at 6:58 of the 3rd...Callahan's 3rd...not sure if Callahan touched it, though...they might change it to Del Zotto before long...

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9:39 PM: 3rd period in New York, still 2-1, Capitals...have seen Alex Ovechkin more in the first five minutes than we've seen him the entire game...

Anze Kopitar, his 2nd, from Dustin Brown makes it 2-0, Kings...4th shorthanded goal for L.A. in the playoffs...at 14:16...

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9:36 PM: Another big hit on Blues player...this time it's Willie Mitchell taking Jamie Langenbrunner into the end boards...

Still no major penalty...there was no supplemental on Dwight King, either, as he is playing in this game...evidently it's open season on the St. Louis Blues...

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9:30 PM: Los Angeles has the early lead 1-0 over St. Louis in Game 2 of their series, Richards, as in Mike, scored 31 seconds into the first...Dustin Penner assisted...

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8:36 PM: Looks like Donald Trump is scouting talent for the next season of The Apprentice...either that or looking for a task he can assign the contestants...

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8:22 PM: First period shots on goal, 12-10, Washington...

The Rangers will carry over 1:48 of power play time into period 2...Mike Green tripped up the rookie...

Don Cherry will probably say he deserved it...;)...

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8:19 PM: And Brad Richards gets it back...Marian Gaborik fed him a perfect pass and he made no mistake...at 19:17, Richards' 4th, Gaborik and Michael Del Zotto with the assists...

2-1, now...dying seconds of the 1st period...

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8:13 PM: Chris Kreider has gone from hero to goat in less than five minutes...speaking of too many men on the ice, he was a little too eager to change, and the Rangers got caught...Kreider served the penalty....they killed it off, but then out of the box guess who ended up with the puck on his stick breaking in on Braden Holtby...this time, however, he couldn't score...and the Capitals went the other way and scored Jason Chimera's 3rd of the playoffs, with thanks to Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle...time of the goal 17:14...

2-0, Washington...ouch!!!

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8:06 PM: Looks like I joined the party just in time to see the first goal of Game 2 between Washington and New York...and it's the Capitals, responding to the MSG faithful's taunts on Ovechkin at the 8 minute mark...Joel Ward fed Mike Knuble for his 2nd of the playoffs, at 12:20 of the 1st period...Keith Aucoin also draws an assist...the fans might want to stop doing that (yeah right!)...last game it prompted the referees to catch a too many men penalty, but this time it backfired...

I literally just turned the T.V. on after hitting the showers after a workout...perfect timing...it's almost like they were waiting for me...

1-0, Capitals...

 

April 29, 2012

10:48 PM: The game ends 5-3...Nashville pulled their goalie with almost 2 1/2 minutes left, but couldn't get anything past Mike Smith...

Coyotes lead the series 2-0...but the Predators are going home...so far, at least, it seems home ice advantage is actually more of an advantage in the 2nd round...

Game 2 of Rangers-Capitals and Kings-Blues, tomorrow night...Game 2 of Devils-Flyers Tuesday night...

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10:17 PM: It could easily be 8-3 by now...Rinne has had 3 good saves with a goal against sandwiched in between...

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10:14 PM: Gilbert Brule was robbed blind by Pekka Rinne, but Shane Doan would restore the 2 goal lead off the ensuing face off...assists to Derek Morris and Antoine Vermette...Doan's 2nd, at 3:36...

5-3, Desert Dogs...

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10:09 PM: Ryan Suter gets the Predators within striking distance again...it's 4-3...Suter's 1st, from Shea Weber and Martin Erat, scored at 0:53 of the 3rd, while Radim Vrbata was sitting for interfering with Andrei Kostitsyn...

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9:57 PM: CHL finals are set...in the OHL, London goes up against Niagara, in the WHL, Edmonton vs Portland...and in the QMJHL, Rimouski vs Saint John...winner of each series moves on to Shawinigan for the Memorial Cup...

Both of Ottawa's teams were eliminated this week...of course, the Senators on Thursday in Game 7, and the 67s went out Friday night, as Niagara beat them in 5 games...

Rimouski took out Halifax...they were one of the favorites to win the whole thing...not anymore...

I have to say, though, the Edmonton Oil Kings are looking pretty good...

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9:55 PM: End of the 2nd...shots were 19-15, Phoenix, 31-24 through 40 minutes...and they lead 4-2 on the scoreboard...

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9:44 PM: Just read this on NHL.com...there's a little button there which reads "A Message To Our Fans":

"Dear NHL Fans,

You may have
heard about a contest that is currently being run in Canada promoting the chance to win "hockey tickets for life" to a Canadian hockey team's games. We want our fans to know that the NHL has no affiliation with that promotion, and we can offer no assurances to our fans that the desired tickets will be available to the winner.

The NHL
does authorize a number of sweepstakes and contests, including one from official partner Molson -- The Stanley Cup Collection -- which includes the chance to win a trip to this year's Stanley Cup Final, as well as some other great prizing. Learn all about this exciting promotion on our partner's Facebook page."

Of course, the contest they refer to is Budweiser's Playoff Payoff...what they're really saying is if they were to endorse this contest, it would create a conflict of interest, as the NHL continues to be affiliated with Molson Canadian, where the Facebook link takes you...

I wonder, though, if the NHL realizes that Molson distributes Bud in Canada, or for that matter, Coors Light...just sayin'...

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9:32 PM: Taylor Pyatt, from Shane Doan, time of the goal, 11:50 of the 2nd...Pyatt's 3rd...he's not Taylor "Quiet" this year...

7:20 left...

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9:29 PM: Game 2 between Phoenix and Nashville has played out fairly similar to Game 1...tied after 1 period, back and forth hockey, chances at both ends...

I don't know if it's just me, but it seems every time there's an overtime game, one of the players I pick to score ends up scoring the first goal of the next game...same thing tonight, as Antoine Vermette got things going, 8:02 into the 1st, his 5th, from Keith Yandle and Mikkel Boedker...before the 1st was done, Nashville would tie it - Andrei Kostitsyn, his 3rd, Kevin Klein and Nick Spaling assisted...it was 1-1 after the first 20...shots were 12-9, Phoenix...

Just past the halfway mark of the 2nd period, and Phoenix has added 2 more...Martin Hanzal, his 2nd, at 3:47, Radim Vrbata and Ray Whitney with helpers...that same line would connect again, at 7:05, Vrbata from Hanzal and Yandle...

Nashville scored to get within 1, Patric Hornqvist, on a power play, his 1st of the playoffs, from Ryan Suter and Mike Fisher...at 11:20...it was 3-2...the goal scored while Ray Whitney was in the box for a slash on Alex Radulov...

Phoenix has just scored again...Taylor Pyatt...4-2...more to come...

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6:29 PM: Danny Briere had one called back about 2 minutes in, as he had clearly kicked the puck into the net, while Marek Zidlicky was serving yet another puck over the glass delay of game penalty, but moments later he would make good on it...at 4:36 of the first overtime, Briere, assisted by the guy who scored the overtime goal in Game 1 against Pittsburgh, Jakub Voracek, and Matt Carle...

Flyers win 4-3, lead the series 1-0...

Game 2 between Phoenix and Nashville, 8:00 PM EST start...

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5:57 PM: Goal picks...I'll take Sean Couturier for Philadelphia, and New Jersey's franchise leader in playoff points, Patrik Elias...

And for the 3rd straight game, I get this from uLAr: "CLARKSON"...sooner or later, it's going to happen, one would think...

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5:54 PM: Overtime in Game 1...3rd straight time for New Jersey, 1st time for Philly since Game 1 of the Pittsburgh series...18th overtime game of these playoffs...shots on goal - 29-22 Philadelphia thru regulation...15-4 in the 3rd...NJ started the game out shooting Philly 11-0...

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5:35 PM: Teams have traded goals...Claude Giroux with his team leading 7th, at 4:19 of the 3rd, from Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell, scored while Andy Greene was serving time for hooking...

And moments ago, Petr Sykora scored his 1st of these playoffs, David Clarkson assisted...at 11:22...

Tied 3-3...overtime looms...Philadelphia now has the lead in shots, 24-21...10-3 in this period alone...

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4:40 PM: Just when it seemed like momentum was going the Flyers way, the referees got involved...after a couple of even up penalties, the Devils got one just as they were going on a power play...Travis Zajac, hero of Game 6, from Parise and Kovalchuk, at 13:53...the play started four on four, but Kovalchuk had the presence of mind to wait for Patrik Elias to get out of the box...Adam Henrique was hooked while going in mano et mano with Bryzgalov...they didn't call a penalty shot, but the Devils scored on the power play...they'll take it...

Tied 2-2...

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4:29 PM: That goal seems to have ignited the Flyers...James Van Reimsdyk converts on a juicy rebound to score his first of the playoffs, just 37 seconds after the Briere goal, at 8:44...Erik Gustafsson assists with the initial shot...seems the game has opened up a bit...we're back and forth now...

2-1, Flyers...

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4:25 PM: Danny Briere ties the game 1-1 with his 6th, 8:07 into the 2nd period...Jakub Voracek intercepted a weak clear out attempt by Ilya Kovalchuk and sent Briere in all alone on Brodeur...about an 11 ft wristshot, Briere rarely misses on those...

Still not sure what's wrong with Kovy...seems to just be occupying space on the roster and on the ice...

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4:09 PM: We're through one period at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, and it's the New Jersey Devils with the lead in Game 1...

I said Zach Parise needs to contribute more to help the Devils' cause, well he's off to a good start, as he has the series ice breaker - his 3rd of the playoffs, 3:16 into the 1st, Patrik Elias with the lone assist...

After that, the Devils got into a little bit of penalty trouble, but the Flyers couldn't convert...nobody has scored on the power play yet...I know it's only one period in, but a far cry from what we saw in the Philadelphia Pittsburgh series...

Shots on goal, 15-6, New Jersey...Ilya Bryzgalov so far has only let in the one goal, which he didn't even see as Parise snapped it by him...

Claude Giroux was trying to get under Parise's skin, but unlike Sidney Crosby, he kept his composure...Philly better soon learn the Devils are not intimidated by their bully tactics...

 

April 28, 2012

10:05 PM: So we have dual 3-1 scores on this first Saturday of the 2nd round, and now the Kings are 4-0 on the road...if you didn't think they were for real, think again...but, one game does not a series make...this one, right or wrong, will be overshadowed by the Dwight King hit on Alex Pietrangelo...Pietrangelo never returned, and you just hope he's OK...

I don't know about anybody else, but seeing Coach's Corner and Satellite Hot Stove during an afternoon HNIC broadcast was just, well, weird...

Be back Sunday at 3 PM, when the Devils will face the Flyers...I promise...;)...

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10:03 PM: Dustin Penner scores into an empty net, and like they did against Vancouver, the Kings steal back home ice...only 6 seconds left...

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9:58 PM: Los Angeles and Philadelphia have made a living in these playoffs by scoring timely shorthanded goals...

The Kings scored another one, at 18:57 of the 2nd, Matt Greene from Dustin Brown, while Dwight King was serving 2 minutes for a borderline boarding play on Alex Pietrangelo...could have easily called a major on that one...Mr. King will be hearing from Mr. Shanahan, methinks...

It was 2-1 after 40 minutes, and the one goal lead has held up through the 3rd...there's only 3:31 left before the Kings steal Game 1...Blues are pressing hard...

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8:23 PM: End of the 1st period at Scottrade Center, and it's a 1-1 tie...

Another wide open, back and forth game, so far...and the St. Louis Blues scored the first goal, 9:16 in, David Perron scored his 2nd of the playoffs, from Alex Pietrangelo and T.J. Oshie...

L.A. would tie it at 16:58, as Dustin Penner would feed Slava Voynov for his 1st...

Shots were 13-11, St. Louis...almost more shots in 1 period than we had all game in New York earlier today...

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5:41 PM: 3-1 is the final score...Rangers take Game 1...

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5:28 PM: The fans at MSG took a page from Ottawa...they let the clock count down to 8 minutes, then started chanting "Ovie Sucks!"...just as that was happening, almost on queue, the Capitals got caught for too many men on the ice...they got away with one towards the end of the 2nd, just before the Chimera goal, but this time the referees were paying attention...

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5:19 PM: The Rangers have blown it open...Chris Kreider shot about a 45 footer from just outside the slot for his 2nd, at 7:00 of the 3rd, from Derek Stepan, and then Kreider set up Brad Richards just a minute and a half later, at 8:30...Marian Gaborik with a secondary assist...

3-1...they're taunting Ovie...

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4:49 PM: 2nd period done at MSG...and we have 2 goals scored...

Washington missed on a 5 on 3 power play, and moments later, Artem Anisimov rode the momentum into his 1st of the playoffs, a wraparound goal, set up by Ruslan Fedotenko and Ryan McDonagh...but the Capitals tied it with 3.5 seconds left in the period...Jason Chimera went five hole on Henrik Lundqvist, converting a Brooks Laich pass that was on the tape...

Tied 1-1...shots on goal are 13-7, Washington...let's see if the goal boosts momentum in the 3rd...

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4:16 PM: Check that...this afternoon is NY Rangers-Washington Game 1, Sunday afternoon is New Jersey-Philadelphia...

Rangers-Capitals is looking more like what was expected of the 2nd round...both teams seem to be feeling each other out...it's scoreless, just past the 5 minute mark of the 2nd...kind of expected this out of the game last night...

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12:24 AM: To quote Darren Pang: "Holy Jumpin', what a play!"...

Ray Whitney, off a face off win by Martin Hanzal, made a diving play to put it past Pekka Rinne, 14:04 into the first overtime...and not only does Whitney score his first Stanley Cup playoff overtime goal since 1995, the Phoenix Coyotes win their first ever game in the 2nd round...even dating back to the 1987 season, the only other time this franchise won a playoff round, the Jets were swept in Round 2, you'll never guess by who...

Final shots were 42-24, Nashville, but once again, despite giving up 3 goals, and once again, one of them late in a game, Mike Smith was the story...

1-0, Desert Dogs lead the series...if they keep this up, they'll become Desert Gods...

Coming up at 3:00 PM, Game 1 between New Jersey and Philadelphia, then at 7, Kings-Blues...

 

April 27, 2012

11:46 PM: No Matt Halischuk or Jordin Tootoo in this game, both are healthy scratches...

My picks for the overtime winners...Mike Fisher for Nashville, Antoine Vermette for Phoenix...it was the attack of the former Ottawa players to start round one...why not...

uLAr has Alex Radulov for Nashville, Shane Doan for Phoenix...incidentally, like me, he has Nashville in 6...unlike me, he's picking Los Angeles over St. Louis in 6, and Washington in 7 games instead of 6...we both seem to agree all these series will be long...

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11:43 PM: Why would the second round start any differently than the first round ended?  Overtime at the Jobing.com Arena...

Boyd Gordon took a late penalty for holding the stick, and at 15:18 of the 3rd Martin Erat scored on the ensuing power play, his 1st of these playoffs, to tie the game 3-3...helped along by Hornqvist and Ryan Suter...

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10:51 PM: Well, whoever it was who said this was supposed to be a defensive snoozefest of a series, it's clear the players didn't get the memo...it's been back and forth, breakneck speed...after 40 minutes, it's Phoenix with a slight edge...

Rostislav Klesla got the 2nd period going at 3:05, Daymond Langkow and Adrian Aucoin assisted...moments after Langkow took Paul Gaustad into the boards, Phoenix restored their one goal lead...Andrei Kostitsyn would reply with his 2nd of the playoffs, at 11:18, from Patric Hornqvist and Francis Bouillon, a real scramble around the net and somehow the puck found its way past a down and out Mike Smith, and the game was tied again, 2-2...then they really started to go end to end...and at 16:27, Mikkel Boedker scored his 3rd, with props to Antoine Vermette and Klesla, and the Coyotes have held on for the 3-2 lead after 2 periods of play...they'll have to kill off a penalty to start the 3rd, though, as it got a little heated at the buzzer - they called holding on Vermette, but it could easily have been called roughing...these two teams haven't played in the post season before, but it doesn't look like it'll take very long before they both get a hate on for each other...

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9:43 PM: Almost thru one period of Game 1 between Phoenix and Nashville, and we're tied 1-1...

Radim Vrbata has scored his 1st of the playoffs, a power play goal, assists given to Ray Whitney and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, at 7:23 - Kevin Klein tripped up Lauri Korpikoski...then at 14:09, Brandon Yip with his 1st, even strength, from Francis Bouillon and Craig Smith...

The Dogs need to get Vrbata going...good sign so far...

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5:01 PM: Considering how crazy the first round was, I came out of it looking not so bad...picked 5 out of the 8 series winners correctly and 3 of them in the right amount of games...I can tell you this much - I did better than EA Sports did...

But...the Stanley Cup is not awarded after the 1st round...but how can you possibly top what we just saw over the past two weeks?  Just like getting off to a good start in October and November can help a team get to the dance in April, when you're looking at the matchups on paper, it's important to try and make the so called safe picks...but as uLAr and I will both tell you - it's a gamble, because until the games have actually been played, who knows what's going to happen - the games aren't played on paper...

Right now I feel very good about a good showing in round one...but there are still 3 more rounds to go...

So without further ado...here goes nothing...my picks for Round 2...like in the first round, I can't see anybody sweeping their way through - as the teams get more closely matched:

NY Rangers-Washington - Capitals in 6...only if Holtby can keep up the stellar netminding...I still think the Rangers just got by in that last series, despite the fact I predicted they'd win in 7...I said Ottawa would give them all they could handle, and they did...two players that have to get going - Brad Richards for the Rangers, Alex Ovechkin for the Capitals...both team's defensive lines will provide the secondary scoring...

Philadelpia-New Jersey - Devils in 6...I still don't like Philly's goaltending...and believe me, the Devils will not become unravelled and lose their composure like Sid and the Penguins did...New Jersey's forte always has, and always will be defense first, ask questions later...it would help, however, if Zach Parise can chip in...as for Ilya Kovalchuk, what happened to him in the Game 7 overtime?

St. Louis-Los Angeles - Blues in 6...I can't imagine St. Louis imploding like Vancouver did...sure, the Kings have a good goalie in Jonathan Quick, but the Blues have two good ones, and Ken Hitchcock will not hesitate to use them...Halak should be ready to go when called upon, although we probably won't find out until game time...

Phoenix-Nashville - Predators in 6...This one, really, could go either way...don't expect too many high scoring games...both goaltenders have seen a lot of shots, and have stopped a fair margin of them...I give the edge to Nashville's defense, that is, of course, provided Shea Weber doesn't do something stupid and get himself suspended...you have to think the Coyotes winning their first round, ever, is a success for them (both on and off the ice)...just don't tell that to the players...since it's the only bonus pick either uLAr or I has left, I have to stick with my Dark Horse pick...

We get going tonight at 9 PM...

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12:50 PM: I haven't heard this much heated debate in Toronto over Daniel Alfredsson in nearly a decade...of course, back in 2002, it was all about the hit on Darcy Tucker that led to a GWG in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Battle of Ontario Semi final...not so many years later, there was the mock stick incident, where he pretended to throw a stick into the Toronto crowd in jest of his fellow countryman Mats Sundin, who got suspended for actually throwing his stick into the crowd...

Today, on Sportsnet's Hockey Central at Noon, Doug Maclean and Nick Kypreos got into a heated exchange over whether or not Alfie should come back for one more season and play out his contract...Maclean argues that if a team is going to front load a contract, a player shouldn't have the right to retire before the end of it, when it pays him less money...he indicated if a player can walk away from a contract, then a team should be able to as well...

Perhaps the one thing that needs to be clear here - Alfie has not decided one way or another if he's going to play next year...he made it pretty clear last night, if he feels he can, he'll be back...beyond the end of his contract next year, don't count on it...he'll be 40 when the contract expires...personally, I hope he comes back for one more year, but I have a feeling we've seen him play his last game...I don't possibly see what more he can contribute or what else he has to prove to this team...if you're truly in rebuild mode, give somebody else a chance to make the big league...and that was Kypreos' argument - he owes Ottawa nothing...doesn't mean he can't still be with the team in some capacity, either as a pro scout or in the front office somewhere...he's made it very clear Ottawa will remain his home...

Of course, it all speaks to a much larger issue that no doubt will be addressed during the next round of collective bargaining...

My picks for the second round, coming this afternoon...

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12:16 AM: 3:47 into the 2nd overtime period - the rookie - Adam Henrique, who started the scoring in this game, finishes it, as he goes five hole on Jose Theodore...and the Devils eliminate the Panthers...Alex Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson get assists...

The Philadelphia Flyers await...the two teams finished 1 point apart...

Gary Bettman did indeed have his NHL Hour show, but couldn't take any calls due to technical difficulties with the phone system...must have been the same issue preventing anyone from posting on NHL.com any sort of teaser or preview of the week's guest(s)...somehow, though, he was able to have on Washington Capitals G.M. George McPhee...later on, E.J. Hradek took it upon himself to get fans to Tweet their questions...I have to say, even though it was a train wreck of a show, it was quite compelling radio...well done, Mr. Commissioner...;)

And no rest for the wicked - Phoenix-Nashville starts tomorrow night - 9 PM EST...

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12:04 AM: And we go to 2OT...last time New Jersey played a double overtime game in a Game 7 - that 1994 Eastern Conference final series against the Rangers...that series, too, went to overtime in both Game 6 and 7...the Rangers won both games - it was the infamous Mark Messier guarantee to his team and the whole world that the Rangers, down 3-2 in their series, would win...while there's been nothing like that to report that I know of, should bode well for New Jersey, given they too, were down 3-2 in the series and managed to win Game 6, also in overtime...

I don't think I've ever seen a player so scared to take a penalty...Kris Versteeg got called for a rare overtime penalty, a slash on Bryce Salvador...and the look on his face while sitting in the box was priceless...Dale Tallon's was even better...in any event, they killed it off, and we play on...Salvador would leave the game, but he returned close to the end of the overtime period...

John Madden, after colliding with his team mate, left, but returned to this game looking like his face went through a blender...he thought he had the game winner late in the period...wouldn't that be a story if he ends up doing it...

 

April 26, 2012

11:14 PM: A wild 3rd period in Florida...Panthers got their power play going not once, but twice...not only does the Martin Brodeur Game 7 shutout go out the window, we are once again going to OT...16th overtime game of the 1st round - that is a new NHL record...

Stephen Weiss, power play goal, his 3rd, at 5:02, Brian Campbell and Mikael Samuelsson assisted, scored during a sequence where there were four penalties called...

Then, late in the game, Marek Zidlicky took one of those puck over the glass delay of game penalties, and at 16:32, Sean Bergenheim and Jason Garrison (who has returned to this game from injury) set up Marcel Goc for the tying goal, his 2nd...

The Panthers faithful are just chomping at the bit to throw their little plastic rats on the ice...but they'll have to hope their team gets the next goal...

Once again, uLAr sends me one word..."CLARKSON"...well it worked for him last game...

I'm going to go with Kris Versteeg for Florida, Ilya Kovalchuk for New Jersey...

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10:16 PM: 2nd intermission in Sunrise, Florida...Devils are still up 2-0...

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10:09 PM: 1 shot on goal for Florida in the 2nd so far...so after taking a 12-9 edge in the 1st, New Jersey is now up 16-13...and Dale Tallon is going nuts in the press box...

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9:57 PM: Ottawa gave it all they could...but the game ended 2-1, series win for the Rangers, in 7...quite the flurry of action for about four minutes towards the end of the game...they couldn't score...Sergei Gonchar didn't help the cause much, taking a late tripping penalty as the Sens had a 6 on 5 advantage with the net empty...double edged sword, really - either he trips Carl Hagelin up, or sees him score a goal into an empty net...

Final shots on goal were 29-27 for the Rangers, but they must have easily blocked about 40 more shots, about 10 of them on that final sequence alone...how close was this series?  New York outscored Ottawa 14-13...that's all...

So the Rangers will get Washington...as Philly awaits the winner of the other Game 7...Ron Maclean confirmed CBC will get the Rangers-Capitals series...

And it's now 2-0 for New Jersey - Stephen Gionta has it, his 2nd, at 9:15 of the 2nd, from Peter Harrold and Ryan Carter...

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9:07 PM: Alfie and Milan Michalek almost bailed him out with a shorthanded goal...they spent most of the penalty kill in the NY end...that's one way to do it...

They've killed it off...13:48 left in the 3rd period...

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9:05 PM: Biggest penalty kill of Ottawa's season...coming up...I have not at all liked Jared Cowen's game tonight...and now he's put his team down a man short for a high stick...

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8:54 PM: Ring the bell...Bryce Salvador vs Erik Gubransson...call that one about even...

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8:44 PM: 2nd intermission at MSG...shots were 11-7 Rangers...they now lead 20-18 on the shot clock, and still lead the score 2-1...

Didn't take nearly as long for the first goal in Florida...Adam Henrique deflected an Anton Volchenkov shot, and 1:29 into Game 7, it's 1-0, Devils...David Clarkson started the play down low...

Tomas Kopecky ran into his own team mate - former Devil John Madden...he'll go off for repair...caught him in the nose with the visor..."Right on the Button", as the T-shirt I'm wearing says...it's Mickey Mouse with boxing gloves on...

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8:26 PM: In Game 6, the Rangers got going on the power play, and Ottawa never recovered...the tables have turned, somewhat...Michael Del Zotto took a cross checking penalty on Chris Neil, and on the ensuing power play, Alfredsson drilled it...Lundqvist is still looking for it...at 11:35, from Chris Phillips and Sergei Gonchar...1st career Game 7 goal for Alfie...

2-1...can you say momentum shift?...

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8:22 PM: Dan Girardi converts a Brandon Dubinsky pass, at 9:04...Brandon Prust with a second assist...it's 2-0 for the Rags...think I just saw somebody take their Sens car flag out of their window and throw it on the ground...

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8:16 PM: The Rangers get on the board first - Marc Staal from Ryan Callahan and Derek Stepan, at 4:46 of the 2nd period...Nick Foligno turned it over and Jared Cowen couldn't recover...

1-0, New York...

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7:47 PM: Scoreless at MSG after the first period...shouldn't come as any surprise...shots were 10-8, Ottawa...both teams getting their chances...the only penalty in the period was Brandon Dubinsky getting a holding minor on Jason Spezza...didn't do much for momentum, as the Sens spent most of the last minute in the Rangers' end...

The fans are on the referees when they delay dropping the puck...and they're on Chris Neil every time he touches the puck...at one point pretty sure they were chanting "Neil's an @$%hole!!!"...only in NY...

Florida-New Jersey, 8:30 start...interesting that they staggered the starts...

So as I was saying earlier this week, Ottawa is 0 for 4 in Game 7 - but, didn't even realize this until they mentioned it in the pre game - Henrik Lundqvist hasn't won a Game 7 either...mind you, he's only played one of them - that was the Washington-Rangers series from 2009 - Sergei Fedorov scored the winner in a close 2-1 game...Daniel Alfredsson is the only Ottawa player that has played in every Game 7 the Sens have ever been in...and tonight he has fire in his eyes...another anomaly - # of goals scored in Game 7 by the players that make up the present Ottawa roster - 0...

Looks like this one will be another low scoring affair...

--------------------

3:28 PM: ...and there you have it...Steve Staios says the Rangers and Devils are moving on...we'll see if he's right...(and if I'm right)...

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3:06 PM: So, yesterday, the Vezina finalists were announced, and no real surprise - Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick are the nominees...I know the Awards only count for regular season, but at least 2 of the 3 are in the 2nd round...could be all three by the time the dust settles on round 1 tonight...

Today, another shocker...the Norris Finalists...and Nick Lidstrom is not in the running...seriously...maybe it is time for him to retire...

Zdeno Chara, Erik Karlsson and Shea Weber...if they award it on points alone, Karlsson should get it...but any one of the three finalists have a good "shot"...;)

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2:57 PM: Well, leave it to a few idiots to try and spoil what was an otherwise outstanding series, and exciting finish for Washington's Joel Ward...he was pretty quiet the whole series, but came through when it mattered most...it seems however, some people who call themselves fans, even in 2012, can't look past the color of his skin, as reports of several vicious Tweets including racial slurs have unfortunately become viral, and are making national headlines...

When asked about it on a Toronto radio station this morning, however, Ward took the high road, saying he's used to it, and more than anything is enjoying the moment and looking forward to round 2...as well he should...

So this afternoon, you have a choice - Hockey Night In Canada Radio, or NHL.com...Islanders and former Oiler and Flame Steve Staios is chatting playoff hockey online...on Sirius XM, it's Gord Stellick with his usual round of guests and insight...I'm sure this whole Joel Ward thing will be a hot topic of discussion...

Not sure if Gary Bettman is doing his show tonight, but you can bet he'll be at MSG at some point...it's about a 10 block walk from the NHL store...

 

April 25, 2012

10:42 PM: Phoenix-Nashville gets going Friday, and St. Louis-Los Angeles on Saturday - times haven't been announced yet, but I can't see Phoenix getting going before 9:00 EST, if not later...St. Louis could be an afternoon game, depending on what happens tomorrow...if Ottawa gets through you can bet HNIC will want the Saturday night slot...

So much riding on tomorrow's games...

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10:26 PM: I almost picked him and settled on Semin...Joel Ward and Mike Knuble went 2 on 1, and at 2:57 Ward buries it, and stuns Tim Thomas, the Boston Bruins, and the entire crowd at TD Garden...

And once again, there will be a new champion...

So 8th in the West advances, so far 5th and 7th in the East advance...if New Jersey and Ottawa both win tomorrow, the top four seeds in the East will go bye-bye...

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10:22 PM: And again, I ask...why is Bergeron playing?!  He would have had that if he was healthy...

--------------------

10:13 PM: Goal picks - Boston - Brian Rolston, Washington - Alex Semin...

uLAr has Seguin and Ovechkin...

The crowd will soon tell you what team is moving on...

--------------------

10:09 PM: Just like last year's 1st round series between Boston and Montreal, this series will go to sudden death overtime...and I do mean sudden death...winner moves on to the 2nd round, loser is going home...15th overtime game in the first round...

--------------------

9:15 PM: 2nd intermission in Boston...

And we're all tied up - Tyler Seguin's 2nd straight goal, after surviving a big battle down low, did a belly flop and got it in...at 14:27, with thanks to Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference...

Boston is up 25-13 on the shot clock...and yet, the outcome of this game is still very much up in the air...

Have hardly seen Patrice Bergeron in this game, and when we have he really appears to be laboring...clearly he's hurt, and with all the healthy scratches on Boston's roster, unsure why he is even playing...

Probably won't see much more of Alex Semin or Nick Backstrom...neither can seem to play against the Bruins' big line without looking foolish afterwards...

But, the crowd's in it...it's tied 1-1...the referees are letting them play (still just the one tripping penalty called so far)...should make for a good finish to what's been arguably the closest series of them all...all six games prior to this one were decided by 1 goal, a Stanley Cup record...and it looks like it'll be one goal that decides this one...

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8:33 PM: Game 7...two words that are music to any fan's ears...in any sport...

And Washington has the early 1-0 lead on Boston on the road...Matt Hendricks, who I picked to get the Game 6 overtime winner, gets his first career playoff goal, a deflection of a John Carlson shot, at 11:23 of the 1st period...Jason Chimera with a secondary assist...

Boston had a late power play, but as usual, could do nothing with it...

Shots, 11-5, Boston, but like every other game of this series, Braden Holtby was lights out...

Don Cherry accused the Bruins of being too tentative, and the refs for not dropping the puck...seems to be Dale Hunter's game...let the sleeping bear sleep...

 

April 24, 2012

10:36 PM: Tomorrow - Game 7 between Boston and Washington, and the other two Game 7s go on Thursday...

--------------------

10:23 PM: Travis Zajac, with his 3rd of the playoffs, and 2nd career playoff overtime goal, 5:29 into the 1st overtime...Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise with helpers...and we go to 7!!!

3 out of the 4 Eastern Conference 1st round series, all going to 7 games...the Philadelphia Flyers must really be enjoying the extra rest...

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10:02 PM: OK...so he sent me one word: "CLARKSON"...fair enough...

Well, former Ottawa Senators players have been getting it done this first round, despite the fact that only Antoine Vermette so far has advanced to the second round...anyhow, I'm going with Anton Volchenkov for New Jersey, and the former Devil, John Madden, for Florida...neither one of them has a shot on goal in this game...something's got to give...

As for total shots on goal, New Jersey has a 3-1 edge - 36-13 through three periods...

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9:59 PM: And, it's official - 7 of 8 first round series in 2012 has had at least one overtime game (Nashville-Detroit did not) - this one hadn't seen OT yet, but that changes in Game 6...still tied 2-2, end of regulation time...

Can't wait to see uLAr's goal picks...I'm anticipating he'll have either Scott Mellanby, or the coach Kevin Dineen for Florida...;)...picks coming...

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8:56 PM: Tied 2-2...Sean Bergenheim continues his playoff prowess...3rd of these playoffs, from Tyson Strachan and Mikael Samuelsson...at 12:49...

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8:46 PM: 2-1 at 7:05 of the 2nd period, Kris Versteeg's 3rd of the playoffs, helped along by Stephen Weiss and Dmitry Kulokov...moments after David Clarkson almost made it 3-0, the lead is cut in half...pick your poison - 3-0, or 2-1...

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8:38 PM: Speaking of respectable seasons...gotta love how Ilya Kovalchuk has figured out how to be a sniper again...3rd of the playoffs for him, from Travis Zajac and Petr Sykora, at 4:21, power play goal while Tomas Kopecky was sitting for a high stick on Harrold...

2-0, Devils...

On the next shift, Zajac seemed to get hurt off the face off...Sean Bergenheim fell on his leg, the same one he underwent achilles tendon surgery on this year...he left the game but has since returned to the bench...

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8:33 PM: A few notes...

Not surprisingly, Roberto Luongo is apparently willing to waive his no trade clause if Vancouver asks him to...don't know why, but I have a feeling he could end up in Tampa...

Nick Lidstrom will apparently make his decision on whether or not he's coming back for another season by July 1...

Masterton Trophy finalists - Daniel Alfredsson, Joffrey Lupul, Max Pacioretty...all three battled injury or illness last season and all three came back and had respectable seasons...

GM of the year finalists - Doug Armstrong, David Poile and Dale Tallon...you know, I understand having a coach of the year, but to me, the best manager is the one whose team wins the Stanley Cup...period...never quite understood this award...

Yesterday they announced finalists for the Lady Byng and Selke trophies...Lady Byng nominees - Jordan Eberle, Brian Campbell and Matt Moulson...if you ask me, Eberle wins it hands down...as for the Selke, a pretty good race - David Backes, Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Datsyuk...Datsyk missed out on it last year, but is a pretty safe bet to get it again...

Tomorrow, Vezina...Thursday, Norris, Friday, Hart...then Jack Adams and the NHL Foundation finalists on Saturday to round out the nominations...

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8:24 PM: Game 6 - Panthers-Devils...do we go to 7 or does Florida move on to a destination unknown?

1-0 for New Jersey after 20 minutes at the Prudential Center...Steve Bernier has the ice breaker, his 2nd of the playoffs, at 16:37 of the 1st, Ryan Carter and Peter Harrold figuring in on the play...

Shots on goal 13-6, advantage Devils...once again it's Brodeur vs Clemmensen...

 

April 23, 2012

11:37 PM: Final shots 39-20 in favor of Chicago...Mike Smith stopped them all for his 1st career NHL Playoff shutout...and the Phoenix Coyotes advance to the second round for the first time, ever...Shane Doan has waited 16 seasons for this moment...remember, he was drafted in 1994, just 2 years before the original Jets left Winnipeg...the only second round appearance for the Jets was 1987, when they took out Calgary in the first round...if it wasn't for a team of great guys from Edmonton, they may have had better playoff success...

And if you think this series was close and low scoring, now Smith meets Pekka Rinne, as Nashville will be their opponent...

So the Western Conference is set...the Eastern Conference, we play on...

Only one game on Tuesday night...Florida-New Jersey - Game 6...

--------------------

11:26 PM: Well if that didn't do it, Kyle Chipchura's 1st career NHL playoff goal at 14:56 will...Gilbert Brule returned the favor, assisting on the 4-0 Coyotes goal...both players with 1G 1A on the night...give a secondary assist to Daymond Langkow...as the Chicago fans start heading for the exits...

4:15 left...

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11:22 PM: Jimmy Hayes got a 5 minute major and the gate for a boarding play on Michal Roszival, and Antoine Vermette, who started off this series with 2 goals, may have just given the Dogs the insurance they need - his 4th of the playoffs, from Mikkel Boedker and Ekman-Larsson, at 13:04...

3-0, Phoenix...

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11:02 PM: 2-0 Coyotes, as Gilbert Brule gets his 2nd goal in as many games, 2:24 into the 3rd, Kyle Chipchura gets a helper...his first playoff point...

They've changed the second assist on the Ekman-Larsson goal to Ray Whitney instead of Vrbata...

I'm not convinced this game is over yet, though...can't imagine why...

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10:29 PM: Power play goal for Phoenix, at 13:14 of the 2nd period, Oliver Ekman-Larsson - 1st career NHL playoff goal, assists from Keith Yandle and Radim Vrbata...

1-0, Desert Dogs...it's only the 6th shot on goal for Phoenix...

It's been the Mike Smith show so far...to this point, Chicago is out shooting 23-6...16-2 in the 1st period alone...no save better than the one he just made on Brendan Morrison...

Andrew Shaw is back from his suspension...

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9:46 PM: But it won't matter...we go to 7...

Captain Alfie was not happy after taking a hit he thought should have been a penalty - he took his frustration out on his stick, the bench and his water bottle, and almost caught his team mate Greening in the cross fire...the team responded, but couldn't tie the game...

They'll have until Thursday to think about it...both teams will...they'll settle the score back in Manhattan...

And, yeah...if you're a Sens fan, you've seen this movie before...Ottawa has never won a Game 7 in 4 previous attempts...but - in their entire modern history, their record in the playoffs against the Atlantic Division is respectable - 2003 Conference Finals against New Jersey, and 2008 Conference Quarter Finals against Pittsburgh - those are the only two series they've ever lost...1 win each against the Islanders and Penguins, and 2 wins each against Philadelphia and New Jersey...of course, this is their first ever series against the Rangers...

Of course, against their own division - different story...only one series win against the Buffalo Sabres in 2007, every other time they've played Buffalo or Toronto, losses...they've never played Montreal or Boston...yet...

Against the Southeast, they're 1 and 1...the win against Tampa Bay...the loss coming against Washington...

But the glaring stat in all of this - 0 for 4 in Game 7...

Scoreless in Chicago after the 1st period...

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9:45 PM: 38.4 seconds left...and it's 3-2...they checked it to make sure it wasn't kicked in, but it was ruled a goal...

Jason Spezza got credit for the goal - his 3rd, Colin Greening got an assist, at 19:21 of the 3rd period...I don't know, looked like Chris Neil nudged it along with his skate - evidently the ruling was he didn't touch it...

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9:04 PM: Coach Paul Maclean says he'd like to win the series, he really would, but stresses the team is still in rebuild mode?!  Are you kidding me?!?  Rebuild or not, you made it to the dance, at least try and get the girl...am I missing something here?!?

Who's telling the Los Angeles Kings right now that they're going through a rebuild?!?

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8:52 PM: Ottawa had 46 seconds left on the aforementioned power play, when Filip Kuba got called for a hook on Ruslan Fedotenko...seconds later, Nick Foligno, who can't seem to get a break from the referees this season to save his life, took a marginal goalie interference call - he didn't like it, the fans didn't like it, and they have a point...Dan Girardi helped him along...either way, it was a penalty, the Rangers eventually had a 5 on 3 power play, and Brad Richards made no mistake...2-1...power play goal, at 17:08, from Michael Del Zotto and Stepan...

The Rangers would score another one before the period was out - at 19:19 - Chris Kreider with his first career NHL playoff goal, from Stepan and Marc Staal...

After 40 minutes, the Rangers lead 3-1...looks like Ottawa has them right where they want them...

The Ottawa 67s are playing Game 3 against the Niagara Ice Dogs, and, like the Sens, are down 2 goals, it's 4-2 in the 3rd...that series knotted 1-1, pending the outcome of this one...

Face off in Chicago on Game 6 between the Hawks and Dogs, coming in the next 10 minutes...

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8:37 PM: Tied 1-1 as Brad Richards set up Derek Stepan for his 1st of the playoffs...goal scored on a power play with Milan Michalek serving a holding penalty...at 8:55 of the 2nd period, Richards and Anton Stralman assisted...

The Rangers seemed to gain some momentum from the goal, but now Ottawa is going on a power play...Chris Kreider sits for goalie interference...

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7:52 PM: 20 minutes in the books at Scotiabank Place, and it's the Ottawa Senators with a 1-0 lead...

Chris Neil scored his 2nd of the playoffs, a Sergei Gonchar point shot ricocheted off his skate and in the net...Nick Foligno got a second assist, a power play goal at 7:05 of the first period while Mike Rupp was serving a roughing penalty...

Later on in the period, Neil threw down with Brandon Prust after both teams were taking liberties (Prust on Karlsson, Neil on Richards)...was a good fight...

We're getting our first playoff look at Jakob Silfverberg, the young left wing prospect whose claim to fame is he's beaten Alfie's goal scoring record in the Swedish Elite League...hasn't looked out of place out there...

--------------------

12:30 PM: TSN and various outlets are all confirming Alfie will be in the lineup tonight...they'd better put Chris Neil on his line, as Carl Hagelin is also eligble to return...

The Bank should be loud and electric, regardless...

--------------------

11:14 PM: Seems Eugene Melnyk has put it out there that Alfie will play tonight...I'm only hearing this second hand, however...until I hear officially, treat it as a game time decision...

 

April 22, 2012

10:56 PM: The former Edmonton Oiler - Jarret Stoll, scored a big goal in double overtime against Detroit in Game 3 of their 2006 series...6 years later, he does it again in Game 5, again against the President's Trophy winners  - 4:27 into the first overtime period, Trevor Lewis drew an assist after taking out Dan Hamhuis, on a play that probably could have passed for a tripping penalty (at least that's what Vancouver fans will say)...and the Canucks, after going all the way to Game 7 of the final last spring, are out in 5...

That sigh of relief you hear - that's coming from the Vancouver Police Department...;)

So St. Louis will now assume the top seed in the West, and will get the Kings, Nashville will await the winner of Phoenix-Chicago...

And tomorrow night, another 8th seed can advance against 1st in the East...Ottawa-New York, 7 PM...Phoenix-Chicago, 9 PM...as the first round is coming down to the wire...

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10:46 PM: OK...so uLAr has Mike Richards for the Kings, and no pick for the Canucks "Good luck tonight Vancouver"...so clearly he believes the series is over tonight...

Here we go!!

--------------------

10:37 PM: Well, a player who hadn't scored won the game earlier (Tyler Seguin)...so, without further ado...

Picks: Vancouver - Ryan Kesler, Los Angeles - Dwight King...

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10:34 PM: ...until now...still tied 1-1...overtime coming up...Canucks score, we go to 6...Kings score, series over...

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10:06 PM: No scoring in the second period, but L.A. has come back to tie it 1-1 in the 3rd...Drew Doughty set up Brad Richardson for his 1st of the playoffs, at 3:21...shots on goal are 22-19, advantage Kings...

Oddly enough, we haven't had overtime yet in this series...

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8:54 PM: We're 20 minutes into that other series we've all forgotten about...the one where Los Angeles has a 3-1 lead over Vancouver...and the Canucks got the start they were looking for, getting on the board first, at 14:04, Henrik Sedin, from brother Daniel and Dan Hamhuis, a power play goal while Brad Richardson was in the box for roughing...

Anze Kopitar got a late breakaway in the final seconds of the period, but ran out of time...shot it into the net anyway, I'm guessing just in case the time keeper wasn't paying attention...the Kings must be used to that...unfortunately for them, they aren't at the Staples Center...

Not sure if anybody else noticed this...the clock read 2:44, at least on the TV Screen, for what seemed like a long time, before finally changing to 2:26 and counted down from there...not sure if you can attribute that to the broadcast or to the timekeeper at Rogers Arena...I know after the incident in L.A., the league implemented a system where they will allow the timekeeper to delay the clock if it's deemed the time isn't correct...

1-0, Vancouver, in another must win for them...

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6:21 PM: uLAr calls it for the 2nd straight OT in this series - Seguin - 1st of the playoffs, 3:17 into the 1st overtime - assists to Lucic and Krejci...we go to 7!!!

I guess it shouldn't be all that surprising to see this one go the distance, given this will now be Boston's 6th playoff series to go the distance since 2009...until last year, their record in Game 7 wasn't very good, losing to Carolina in 7 in 2009, and to Philadelphia in 2010...they righted the ship, so to speak, last year, winning 3 Game 7s on their way to the Cup...as for Washington, given their abysmal record in Game 7s, have to be kicking themselves right now...if history holds true, Ovechkin will have nightmares about that cross bar all summer...seems to me he did the same thing against Jaroslav Halak in that Montreal series in 2010...

We'll have to wait until Wednesday night to see who advances from this one...

--------------------

6:20 PM: Bergeron's deflection of a Krejci shot beats Holtby, but not the cross bar...

--------------------

6:09 PM: OK...goal picks: Boston - Patrice Bergeron, Washington - Matt Hendricks...uLAr has Tyler Seguin for Boston, Brooks Laich for Washington...

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6:00 PM: So the next goal either sends us to Game 7, or dethrones Boston...we get overtime for the 3rd time in this series...

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5:56 PM: Down to the last 90 seconds of regulation time...

--------------------

5:53 PM: Ovie hits the cross bar...

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5:50 PM: And Ovechkin ties it...look out!!! 

Just his 2nd, assist from Nicklas Backstrom, at 15:08...

3-3...they're chanting Thomas' name...

--------------------

5:45 PM: Andrew Ference's 1st of the playoffs is a big one...after the Capitals narrowly missed in the Boston zone, Tyler Seguin, who is still waiting to score in this series, started the rush...while he, along with Milan Lucic, couldn't solve Holtby, Ference came in as the late trailer and picked up the garbage...at 11:57 of the 3rd, Seguin with the lone assist (Lucic over skated it)...

3-2 Bruins...

--------------------

5:06 PM: 40 minutes of Game 6 in the books...shots are 25-16, Washington...Bruins will take 2/3 of a power play into the 3rd as they got into a bit a scrum after the goal...

--------------------

5:02 PM: Brad Marchand got sandwiched in his own end, and that created a 2 on 1 the other way...Nicklas Backstrom to Jason Chimera - goal, and tie game...2-2...1st of the playoffs for Chimera, at 19:18...Hamrlik gets his second assist of the game...

--------------------

4:58 PM: Bruins kill it off...

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4:55 PM: Caps just got away with too many men on the ice...they call it an illegal line change?  Boston was getting a high sticking penalty, so instead of 4 on 4, it's a Washington power play...there were 7 players on the ice...

If they score here, better buy the ref a bottle of wine...

--------------------

4:38 PM: Could be a key part of this game and series...1:57 into the 2nd period, Alex Ovechkin served a double minor for high sticking as his stick caught Zdeno Chara on the bridge of his nose...they're still trying to stop the bleeding...Ovechkin would be seen arguing with the referee after the fact, but he'll have hard time disputing both the DNA evidence, as well as the fact it would have to be a high stick to catch the tallest player in the league in the face...Capitals killed off the penalty, anyway, and seem to now have some momentum...

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4:03 PM: End of the 1st in Washington...and Boston's anemic power play seems to be waking up...David Krejci, his first, at 16:48, from Milan Lucic and Peverley...scored while Alex Semin was in the box for hooking...

2-1, Bruins...

--------------------

3:37 PM: Mike Green blows it by Tim Thomas...with a little help from Boston's Greg Zanon...at 9:47...Joel Ward and Roman Hamrlik draw helpers...

Tied 1-1...

--------------------

3:36 PM: They do change it to Peverley...his 3rd, at 5:56 of the 1st, from Andrew Ference and Bergeron...

--------------------

3:34 PM: 1-0 Bruins...they give it to Patrice Bergeron, but looks like it was actually a Rich Peverley deflection...Bergeron never touched it...Boston will take it, either way...

--------------------

3:16 PM: No Shawn Thornton or Joe Corvo for Boston, Patrice Bergeron is in...no apparent changes to the Washington lineup...

The NHL ruled there won't be any supplemental discipline meted out to Chris Neil, as well it shouldn't...don't be surprised, however, to see John Tortorella get fined...again...

While discussing it amongst the panel and i-Desk, Ron Maclean got a BBM from Don Cherry - "Leave Tortorella to me"...my guess is he'll address it on Monday night's Coach's Corner...

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2:53 PM: Brayden Schenn gets the empty netter with just 7.9 seconds left...5-1 - Flyers are moving on as they win in 6...

Ottawa fans, pay attention...depending on the outcome of Florida-New Jersey and Washington-Boston, if the Sens get by the Rangers, and if Washington gets by Boston they'll get either Florida or Philly...

Game 6 from Washington, coming up...

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2:49 PM: Final 3 minutes...Penguins are on a power play as Philadelphia took one of those puck over the glass delay of game calls...moments ago they thought they had scored, but Ilya Bryzgalov was pushed into the net...no goal...

My only question is, will they shake hands or will the Penguins just leave the ice?...

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1:59 PM: Shots are almost even after 40 minutes...20-19, Philly with the slight edge...but where it counts, they have a 3 goal lead, and once again, they have Pittsburgh by the throat...

But...I don't think I need to remind the Flyers what they managed to do in the 2nd round against Boston in 2010...a series they trailed 3-0, and after coming back to tie the series 3-3, they too, were down 3 goals after 40 minutes...

Does history repeat itself?

--------------------

1:51 PM: Approaching the end of the 2nd period...and the Flyers are bound and determined not to go back across Pennsylvania again this season...

5:25 into the middle frame, Erik Gustafsson scored his first career playoff goal, a 45 footer past Fleury that Ray Ferraro described as "like having an anvil dropped on your head"...he'll probably want a mulligan on that one...Braydon Coburn drew an assist...

At 8:34, Evgeni Malkin got Pittsburgh on the board with an unassisted marker, but just 34 seconds later, at 9:04, Danny Briere scored his 5th, from Voracek and Matt Carle...

4-1, Philadelphia...

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12:50 PM: Giroux already with a goal and an assist - set up Scott Hartnell for his 2nd, on a power play...Jakub Voracek also getting an assist - at 13:01, it's 2-0...but if the previous five games are any indication, it won't be enough to win the game...

Pittsburgh actually leads 7-4 on the shot clock...

That was the 20th power play goal scored in this series...

--------------------

12:41 PM: Once again, it's Philadelphia with the early lead, in Game 6...after checking Sidney Crosby off the face off, Claude Giroux went in and did it all himself with a perfect shot over Marc-Andre Fleury's shoulder...all this within 32 seconds...it's 1-0, Flyers...Giroux' 6th of the playoffs...

Has settled down a little bit since then...but plenty of game left for that to change...

--------------------

12:53 AM: Jonathan Toews scores, 2:44 into the 1st overtime period...Viktor Stalberg got the assist...

We haven't had overtime in every game in a series since 1951...that was the Habs-Leafs series where Bill Barilko scored the winner for Toronto in Game 5...you know, like in the Tragically Hip song "50 Mission Cap"...true story that...

Game 6 Monday night...

Pittsburgh-Philadelphia, Game 6, at noon...

--------------------

12:37 AM: Goal picks - uLAr - Chicago - Patrick Sharp, Phoenix - Mikkel Boedker and I'll take Patrick Kane for Chicago, and Shane Doan for Phoenix...

One of us had to pick Boedker eventually...

--------------------

12:32 AM: Yes we are!

--------------------

12:30 AM: If Phoenix doesn't win this game, Shane Doan will have nightmares until Game 6...he's missed two breakaway opportunities, one of them shorthanded...

Last minute of play...are we going to OT again?

--------------------

12:14 AM: Surprise, surprise...we're tied 1-1 between Phoenix and Chicago...

Nick Leddy's 1st of the playoffs, from Duncan Keith and Michael Frolik, at 9:15 of the 3rd...might have deflected off Adrian Aucoin, not that Leddy will care...the Hawks won't go away...

 

 

April 21, 2012

11:45 PM: 2nd intermission at the Jobing.com Arena...still 1-0, Phoenix...you know they'll be trying hard to get another one, or two, or three...

--------------------

11:08 PM: Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Gilbert Brule...1st career NHL Playoff goal, 2:45 into the 2nd period, with another former Edmonton Oiler, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, assisting...1-0, Coyotes...

--------------------

10:22 PM: The San Jose Sharks are the ones left singing the Blues...Andy McDonald scored into an empty net at 19:21, Patrik Berglund got an assist - St. Louis wins the game 3-1, wins the series in 5 games...only prediction that I've got right so far...

More importantly - what is to become of this San Jose team...players like Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, the coaching staff, the management...it'll be a long summer for the team that despite having been to the Conference Finals twice in the last five years, so much more was expected of them...

Scoreless between Chicago and Phoenix, just getting comfortably underway...

--------------------

9:57 PM: Spezza scores his 2nd of the game and series into an empty net, helped along by Zenon Konopka, at 19:04...Craig Anderson completes the 41 save shutout, and Ottawa is up 3-2 on the #1 team in the Eastern Conference, and heading home for Game 6...

John Tortorella was not happy with Chris Neil for a hit on Brian Boyle...compared it to the Torres hit...a bit of an exaggeration, I think...on top of that, he accused Neil of being a repeat offender...not even close...

St. Louis has scored twice in 45 seconds in the 3rd to now lead San Jose 2-1 - and the fans at the Scotttrade Center can smell it...

Jamie Langenbrunner at 11:16 from Scott Nichol and Vladimir Sobotka, and David Perron at 12:01 from Alex Pietrangelo and T.J. Oshie...shots on goal are 26-22 for St. Louis...

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9:35 PM: Only 1 goal in Game 5 between Ottawa and the NY Rangers, Jason Spezza at 9:18 of the 1st, 1st NHL playoff assist from Mark Stone, called up after the Brandon Wheat Kings season was done, as well as Filip Kuba...

Since then, it's been a battle of the goalies...there's just shy of 6 minutes left in the 3rd period - the Rangers are on a power play and trying hard to tie it...shots to this point are 36-28 in favor of New York...

In St. Louis, it's San Jose holding on to a 1-0 lead thanks to Joe Thornton's 2nd of the playoffs, 19:19 into the 2nd period, Daniel Winnik and Torrey Mitchell with helpers - that game still has about 15 minutes left...

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Game 5 between Florida and New Jersey also had no goals until the 2nd period...and it was Kris Versteeg exactly 4 minutes into it, on a power play, Stephen Weiss and Brian Campbell assisted...was still 1-0 Panthers after 40 minutes...

Scottie Upshall would put Florida up 2-0 at 13:17 of the 3rd from Versteeg and Shawn Matthias...

This one would end 3-0, Florida - Tomas Kopecky would get taken out on a shorthanded rush to the New Jersey empty net, and, well, that counts as a goal...Panthers are up 3-2 in that series...

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There was no scoring in the Washington-Boston game until 11:16 of the 2nd period, when Dennis Wideman and Marcus Johansson set up Alexander Semin for his 3rd of the playoffs...3 minutes 11 seconds later, at 14:27, Jay Beagle would make it 2-0, unassisted, and all of a sudden the Capitals led 2-0...it wouldn't stay that way for long, though, as the Bruins would come back with 2 goals 28 seconds apart...Dennis Seidenberg from Milan Lucic and David Krejci at 17:21, then Brad Marchand at 17:49, from Rich Peverley and Johnny Boychuk...it was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes...

In the 3rd, 3:21 in, Mike Knuble would score his 1st of these playoffs, Joel Ward and John Erskine assisted, and it was 3-2 Caps...Dennis Wideman would take a cross checking penalty and at 8:47, finally, the Bruins would score their first power play goal of this series, Boychuk from Seidenberg and Marchand, and we were tied again, 3-3...unfortunately for Boston, Benoit Pouliot would get called for a slash, late in the game...and the Capitals scored a power play goal of their own, at 18:33, Troy Brouwer with his 2nd, set up by John Carlson...4-3 - that would be the game winning goal as Washington goes up 3-2 in the series, with Game 6 back at the Verizon Center tomorrow afternoon...

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3:59 PM: 1st intermission at the TD Garden...no surprise, no score yet...11-10 the shots on goal, slim advantage to Washington...

Boston is now 0 for 14 on the power play in this series - it continues to boggle my mind how the Bruins continue to survive without a power play that can score...it's just unbelievable with the lineup they have...

Although, on the other side of the ledger, one could argue the Capitals are only in this series for 1 reason - their goalie...their power play hasn't been much better, it's 2 for 13...

More on all the action later - should be back before the late game, or sooner...

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2:54 PM: Washington-Boston about to get going, in about 15 minutes time...going to try and get a workout in...I'll check in at the 1st intermission...

New Jersey-Florida is a 6:30 PM start, Ottawa-New York, 7:00, and San-Jose-St. Louis, 7:30...Chicago-Phoenix is the late game, at 10:00...

The Sunday games have start times now as well...Pittsburgh-Philadelphia, at noon (note to self)- Boston-Washington goes on back-to-back days - Game 6 starts at 3:00 again, and Game 5 of L.A.-Vancouver is 8:00 PM...

There could be as many as three games on Monday night, or as little as one...depends on whether or not Phoenix and St. Louis close out their respective series tonight...New York-Ottawa Game 6 is for sure...

As always, all times eastern...

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2:45 PM: Some of the key points of Shanahan's decision - if you watch the video on NHL.com, he illustrates all of this with video evidence - I still think it's really cool they do the video for every supplemental discipline decision:

"This is a violation of three NHL rules – interference, charging and illegal check to the head."

"In addition to the fact that three separate NHL rules were violated with this one hit, two other factors were critical in determining the appropriate length of suspension:

"First, this violent and dangerous hit caused a severe injury.

"Second, Torres not only is a repeat offender as defined by the CBA, his extensive Supplemental Discipline history consists mainly of acts very similar to this one – including two this season." (In the video, he shows 5 examples dating back as far as 2007)

"Despite knowing that Hossa no longer has the puck, Torres decides to finish his check past the amount of time when Hossa is eligible to be bodychecked. That is a violation of the Interference rule."

"While we acknowledge the circumstances of certain hits may cause a player's skates to come off the ice, on this hit, Torres launches himself into the air before making contact. This is a violation of the Charging rule."

"The position of Hossa's head does not change just prior to or simultaneous with this hit. The onus, therefore, is on Torres not to make it the principal point of contact. By leaping, Torres makes Hossa's head the principal point of contact. That is a violation of the Illegal Check to the Head rule."

Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney released this statement:

"I want to thank Brendan Shanahan and his staff for their thorough review of this incident," said Maloney. "The ruling is very severe for Raffi and our Hockey Club. Raffi plays a hard, physical game yet this contact crossed the line on what is acceptable in our game today. We hope Marian Hossa makes a full and speedy recovery as we all enjoy watching him perform. The Club accepts the NHL's decision and will focus on our game tonight."

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1:05 PM: Wow!!!  Just Wow!!!!!

25 games for Raffi Torres...the NHL is at least guaranteeing he won't play again this season...if Phoenix were to go all the way, and the distance in every series, that would be 25 possible playoff games...Shanahan went on to say if he the suspension is not completed in these playoffs, it will carry over into the regular season - furthermore, the preseason will not count...

Looks like they want to send a big message to repeat offenders - as Shanahan showed 5 previous hits that Raffi was suspended for...not to mention the hit in last year's playoffs on Brent Seabrook, which he didn't receive anything for, and the fact this particular play was not penalized, wasn't even mentioned...

As you can imagine - reaction is already mixed...best one I've seen yet - somebody tweeted "The irony in the suspension - Torres probably never saw it coming"...somebody else suggested perhaps the Phoenix announcers should be suspended for the same length of time for calling it a clean hit...

And I thought the Aaron Rome suspension last year was big...I've got a feeling we'll be hearing about this for awhile...

Wow!!! 

 

April 20, 2012

10:44 PM: And I'll leave you with this thought for tonight...even with the Habs not participating in the playoffs, somehow they still manage to stage riots in Montreal...no less than 3 student unions are protesting the Quebec government's plans to increase tuition fees...and it really came to a head today...

Now, time for movie night in Adam's basement...

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10:31 PM: And...it's over...as the Predators, fans, and Carrie Underwood cheer...Nashville wins the game 2-1, wins the series in 5 games, and the Detroit Red Wings are out...

And once again, I ask - is this it for Nick Lidstrom?!  And more importantly - have we just witnessed a passing of the torch here?!

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10:20 PM: The Penguins' farm team are in for a good one too...the AHL Calder Cup playoffs got underway yesterday, and Wilkes Barre/Scranton are matched up with the Hershey Bears, who are in as the Eastern Conference's 8th seed...the Pens lead that series 1-0 after a 3-1 win in Game 1...

Of note - not surprising, really, considering some key components of last year's Calder Cup championship team got to play in Ottawa this year, the Binghamton Senators did not qualify...

And, don't feel bad for Toronto - the Marlies are in the playoffs, and are up 1-0 on Rochester...

The Winnipeg Jets' farm team, the St. John's Ice Caps, are playing the Syracuse Crunch...

In the rest of the brackets, Norfolk gets Manchester, Bridgeport gets Connecticut, Oklahoma City (Edmonton) gets the Milwaukee Aeros, Chicago (Vancouver) gets San Antonio, and Abbotsford (Calgary) gets the Milwaukee Admirals...

In other words...only Ottawa and Montreal's AHL affiliates failed to make the playoffs...oddly enough, as well, Boston's affiliate, Providence, didn't make it for the 2nd straight season...

--------------------

10:12 PM: It didn't look possible last Sunday, but this 1st round Philadelphia-Pittsburgh series will go to a 6th game...in fact, all of the Eastern Conference 1st round series will go at least 6...3-2 is now a final score...

Game 6 in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon - is it the Gong Show Revisited, and, more importantly, do we go to 7?!

Mitchell Theoret is the hero for the Niagara Icedogs, 5:10 into the 1st overtime period...and despite a 48 save performance by Petr Mrazek, they draw first blood against Ottawa...

9 minutes left in Nashville, and possibly Detroit's season...

--------------------

10:04 PM: 2 minute warning in Pittsburgh...

They're tied 1-1, and in the first overtime period, in Niagara Falls...

--------------------

10:00 PM: David Legwand gets the Nashville lead back...he helped Radulov get his first of the playoffs, now Radulov returned the favor...early in the 3rd period, just 13 seconds in...it's 2-1 Preds...

--------------------

9:49 PM: The Flyers are pressing the issue, but Marc-Andre Fleury is shutting the door...only took him four games to find his form...can actually say that about both goalies in this game...as expected, it's been a tight one...this is what I and I'm sure everybody else expected out of this series from the very beginning...

Just over 8 minutes left...they're just about ready for the 3rd period in Nashville...

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9:32 PM: Pittsburgh came back with 2 goals in the 2nd period, both even strength - Jordan Staal with his 6th, from Tyler Kennedy and Kris Letang at 6:15, then Kennedy with his 3rd, at 9:53, from Matt Cooke and Staal...

It's now 3-2 Penguinos, now in the 3rd...

Nashville scored first, Alex Radulov from David Legwand, at 16:10 of the 1st, but Detroit has tied it...Jiri Hudler's 2nd at 13:45 of the 2nd, Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg assisted...1-1 in Tennessee...

And they're still scoreless in St. Catharines between the 67s and Icedogs...in the 3rd period...

--------------------

8:20 PM: 1st intermission in the Pitts...

Brendan Shanahan's decision on Raffi Torres will be announced on Saturday...

--------------------

8:13 PM: Scott Hartnell scores his first of the playoffs, on a 5 on 3 power play, at 17:35, Kimmo Timonen and Claude Giroux getting points...2-1, Philly...

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8:05 PM: There was a lot made back in November over Philadelphia playing catch in a game against Tampa, daring them to fore check, rather than play their typical 1-3-1 trap style...

Well, the Kitchener Rangers did the same thing to the London Knights, in Game 1 of their semi final series, daring them to, as Jeff Marek put it, play hockey...

After one period, Ottawa and Niagara are scoreless, while London took Game 1 against Kitchener 3-2, in OT...

What I want to know, though - couldn't the referee call a delay of game penalty for that?

Meanwhile, the Penguins have just scored to tie 1-1...Steve Sullivan's 2nd power play goal, assists Kris Letang and James Neal, at 14:51...

Detroit-Nashville, the puck has just dropped...

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7:59 PM: So if series history indicates anything, Pittsburgh will win Game 5...in the first 4 games, the team that scored first has lost every game...Philadelphia gets the first goal, Matt Carle with his 1st of the playoffs, with just 2 seconds left on a power play, at 11:45 of the 1st period...Matt Read and Jaromir Jagr the set up men...1-0 Flyers...for now...

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7:56 PM: Almost halfway through the 1st period of Game 5 between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and shockingly, nothing to report yet...no goals, no assists, no fights, and only two penalties...

Detroit-Nashville, in about 10 minutes...and that's it tonight for Stanley Cup action...2 games...

3rd round gets underway in the OHL, WHL and QMJHL...Sportsnet's "Friday Night Hockey" has the 67s-Icedogs Game 1...

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2:45 PM: Not really news, but today kicks off the NHL Awards nominations - today nominees for the Calder Trophy were announced, no surprise here - Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, New Jersey's Adam Henrique and Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog are the 3 finalists...

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1:23 AM: Hmmm...so like always, Gary Bettman doesn't see a problem with anything...the man can speak and speak well, I'll give him that...

He said something that I found very intriguing (but true) - this year, more than in years past, in the playoffs, it seems we've hit the ground running - the usual sense is that it takes until Game 3 or 4 for a series to really amp up, but no so this year - the players seem to have taken the game to an intensity level that's higher than perhaps even they imagined, right from the drop of the first puck...

And...when he gets somebody on the phone like the Pittsburgh fan who thought the officiating in Game 4 was not very good, his arguments/defense as to why he feels confident there isn't anything wrong with the game or the officiating or the supplemental discipline are all the more compelling...I guess that fan has a short memory...of the 10 goals the Pens scored in Game 4, 4 of them were on the power play - given Philadelphia only scored 3 times, they still would have won the game on special teams alone...yeah, officiating was horrible alright...how about stating the obvious - the goalies on both sides have been horrible...

Still not too sure I agree with his 100% backing of Brendan Shanahan and decisions made by the Department of Player Safety...I wouldn't expect anything less from him, but one has to wonder what's really going on there...we've seen the inside of a dressing room, what say we get HBO in on one of these General Manager meetings, or NHL board meetings, or even eavesdrop on a conference call with the NHLPA...now that would be a reality show I want to see...I'm already chomping at the bit to see the next 24-7...hope Brian Burke doesn't bitch too much about being followed around with a camera crew...

Anyhow, St. Louis takes a 3-1 series lead home for Game 5 - both teams traded goals in the 3rd - San Jose could not score the tying goal...

Andy McDonald put the Blues up 2-0, at exactly 12 minutes of the 3rd, a power play goal scored while Patrick Marleau was serving an interference minor, with another assist each given to Berglund and Perron...

Joe Thornton would score to break the shutout, late, at 18:53, with Logan Couture and Brent Burns helping out...close, but no cigar...

2-1 was the final...and now every Western series is at 3-1...all but one Eastern series is tied 2-2...

Bettman made note of this - home ice advantage is not so much in the 32 games that have been played so far (28 as of showtime)...even tonight only 2 of the 4 home teams won...

Think I figured out the wacky schedule...they seem to be, now, after everybody has played four games, working backwards...so Friday night, we have only two games, and they're both Game 5 of the 4-5 matchups...the reason Vancouver appears to be the last to play Game 5 is they finished first overall...or at least that's my read into it...

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12:09 AM: St. Louis is still up 1-0, now at the 2nd intermission...

Heard Darren Dreger during the first intermission mention that Ottawa could have their 2011 first round draft pick Mika Zibanejad in their lineup for Game 6...that will be interesting...they could also call upon Stefan Noesen, whose season with the OHL's Plymouth is also done...

Back to Mr. Bettman...say what you will about technology, but being able to pause live or recorded radio and TV is something I could only dream of as a kid...hell, without technology, this very blog wouldn't even be possible...

 

April 19, 2012

11:09 PM: I can't tell you what, if anything, it means, but I have a cactus on my kitchen counter, which up until now had what appeared to be 2 new arms growing out of it...just noticed a 3rd sprouting through the bottom...

And here's what will really blow you away...the new growth is close to a stone that has the word "Believe" on it...

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10:51 PM: Well, clearly we're all missing something with this Mikkel Boedker kid...2nd straight game, 2nd straight overtime winner, 2nd of the playoffs...on the road...just 2:15 into the 1st overtime, Boyd Gordon and Keith Yandle sent him in all alone on Crawford...Coyotes win 3-2, lead the series 3-1, and can win the series on Saturday...Phoenix has never been out of the first round since the team moved out of Winnipeg...wouldn't that be something - Winnipeg gets a team again, Phoenix wins their first playoff series...we'll have to wait and see...

Game 5, Saturday night from cactus land...odd that there won't be a HNIC late game...

St. Louis' B.J. Crombeen gets it going early...1-0...from Patrik Berglund and David Perron, at 7:12 of the 1st...

Going to prepare my coffee maker for tomorrow, tune in to the NHL Hour and maybe even HNIC Radio...provided nothing happens in between, will check in just before midnight...

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10:39 PM: Overtime goal picks - I've got Dave Bolland for Chicago, Ryan Klesla for Phoenix...

uLAr has Patrick Sharp for Chicago, Ray Whitney for Phoenix...

Guess it's just as well, my Stiletto is recording the 10 PM repeat of Gary Bettman's NHL Hour...when I actually get to hear it remains to be seen...

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10:28 PM: This is a recording...we are going to overtime...

Again...every game in this series...6th straight playoff overtime for Chicago...

Last time a Stanley Cup Playoff series went to overtime in every one of the first four games - 1951 Stanley Cup Final...it doesn't happen very often...

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10:25 PM: R U freaking kidding me!??  1:26 remaining and Michael Frolik has tied it for Chicago...just as they got Corey Crawford off the ice...

2-2...Chicago does it again!!...

18:34 the time of the goal, Dave Bolland and Johnny Oduya assisted...

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10:21 PM: " And you can have it all...my empire of dirt...I will let you down...I will make you hurt ..."

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10:13 PM: Patrice Bergeron was absolutely pick-pocketed by Holtby at the buzzer...the shot was labeled top shelf, but Holtby got the glove up and made the save...grand larceny...a 44 save performance...final shot tally, 45-21, Boston...

Capitals win 2-1, series tied 2-2...

Give the Toews goal to Brendan Morrison...his first of the playoffs, Toews and Niklas Hjalmarsson assisted...

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10:11 PM: Can't get much closer than that...Holtby holds the fort on the goal line...time out, Washington...

Jonathan Toews ends Mike Smith's shutout hopes, at 10:25, 2-1...

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10:08 PM: Perhaps anticipating a late Hawks comeback, Phoenix adds another...Taylor Pyatt with his 2nd of the playoffs from Antoine Vermette and Radim Vrbata...just 44 seconds after the Doan goal, at 7:47...2-0 Coyotes...

Empty net, Boston, as the Bruins attempt to tie Washington in the final minute...Capitals still holding on to a 2-1 lead...

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10:04 PM: The bubble finally bursts in Chicago...Shane Doan puts the Coyotes up 1-0 , 7:03 into the 3rd...Ray Whitney draws an assist...

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9:40 PM: Still no score between the Dogs and Hawks...Chicago thought they had scored, but they couldn't beat the buzzer...40 minutes of Game 4 in the books...

4-0 is a final score in New Jersey - Martin Brodeur gets his 101st career NHL playoff win, 24th career playoff shutout, and the series is tied 2-2...not surprisingly, it got a little chippy towards the end of the game, but nothing major to report...shots on goal were almost even...27-26, New Jersey...

Brodeur now surpasses Patrick Roy for 1st on the all time list for most NHL playoff shutouts...what can I say, he's the Wayne Gretzky of goaltending...

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9:17 PM: 2nd Intermission in the U.S. Capital...shots are somewhat more respectable...32-18, still a wide margin by Boston, but at least now it's closer to 2-1 instead of 4-1...oddly enough, despite out shooting the Capitals almost 2-1, the Bruins are down 2-1 on the scoreboard

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9:14 PM: Alex Semin blows it by Thomas...2-1 Washington...power play goal assisted by Keith Aucoin and Alex Ovechkin, at 18:43 of the 2nd...

--------------------

9:10 PM: ...and they do...4-0 Devils thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk's 2nd of the playoffs, on a power play at 8:32 of the 3rd - Peter Harrold and Bryce Salvador assisted...

Don't let anybody tell me Kovy hasn't earned his money this year...

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8:59 PM: Bernier from Stephen Gionta and Brodeur, at 2:02 of the 3rd...then Travis Zajac with his 2nd from David Clarkson and Bryce Salvador at 3:38...and Clemmensen stays in net...

3-0, Devils...if they know what's good for them, they better get another one...

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8:57 PM: Steve Bernier has his first of the playoffs, Devils are up 2-0...

Better make that 3-0...

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8:51 PM: No score after 20 minutes in Chicago...3rd period in NJ should be starting any second now...

I'm not sure if anybody outside of Washington expected Braden Holtby to be this good in net...the score should probably be 4-1 Boston by now, but it's still tied 1-1...shots are 25-6...and we're not even halfway through the game yet...

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8:35 PM: End of the 2nd in Newark...Devils still lead 1-0...

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8:29 PM: Martin Brodeur is back in the zone tonight...

End of the 1st in Washington...tied 1-1...shots are 14-3, Boston...

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8:23 PM: So I guess the referees aren't going to miss anything in this one...Paul Bissonnette fought with Brandon Bollig, and got 5 for the fight, 10 minute misconduct and a game misconduct...looks like he didn't keep his sweater strapped on...just 5:24 into the 1st...look for a Tweet about it any time now...I can see it now..."so at least one of four guys caught me with my shirt off...heading to Five Guys for a hamburger..."

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8:19 PM: Phoenix-Chicago just underway...

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8:09 PM: 1-0 Devils...Zach Parise...2nd of the playoffs, power play goal at 6:08 of the 2nd, Travis Zajac and Marek Zidlicky assisted...

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8:07 PM: 1-1 between Boston and Washington - Rich Peverley went five hole on Braden Holtby...at 13:12 of the 1st, assist by Greg Campbell...

--------------------

7:42 PM: Marcus Johansson gets his first of the playoffs, just 1:22 into the 1st period, Brooks Laich with the lone assist - Washington up 1-0 early in Game 4...Johansson replaces the suspended Backstrom on the Ovechkin line...

Still scoreless in New Jersey...end of the 1st period now...

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7:36 PM: So the NHL did not give Joel Quenneville a pass for his comments to NBC...they fined him $10,000...totally not fair...especially given Raffi Torres' hearing isn't until tomorrow, thanks to a request from the NHLPA...one has to think this will be a very hotly debated topic when the next CBA is agreed upon...

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7:33 PM: You know, if Tim Thomas played for Washington and had a red chest protector like the yellow one he has, he'd look like Spiderman...

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7:26 PM: OK, that's it...I need to move to Florida...commit to a season ticket package for the Panthers for next season, and Game 5 of this series is free?!?!  Did I hear that right!??   Too bad just about everything else in that area is not as affordable...(try going to a grocery store in Miami...ouch!!  All I can say is thank God for Wal-Mart and Target...)...

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7:15 PM: Four games tonight...three of them starting within a half hour of each other...this is going to be fun trying to keep track...somebody needs to come out with a triple or quadruple tuner...I figure if you can put multiple hard drives and processors in a computer, why not in a PVR?  I need Marty McFly's TV...that's what I need...while we're at it, somebody hurry up and invent one of those Hydrator ovens...we've got three years...;)

Game 4, Florida and New Jersey...already starting off better than the last two games, neither team has scored a goal yet and the game is almost 5 minutes old...it's a duel between Martin Brodeur and the former backup, Scott Clemmensen...

Boston-Washington Game 4 is a 7:30 start, Phoenix-Chicago is an 8:00 start...and St. Louis-San Jose - 10:30...

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12:56 AM: Vancouver staves off elimination after winning Game 4 by a score of 3-1...

In the 3rd, the Sedin brothers connected for another power play goal to give them insurance - Henrik scored at 5:45 from Hamhuis and Daniel...

So here's the good news - nobody's getting swept in the 1st round...

Here's the bad news - 3 teams could be done in 5...

Game 5 between L.A. and Vancouver isn't until Sunday?!?

 

April 18, 2012

11:48 PM: Because I know you're just dying to know...when was the last time a team scored at least 10 goals in an NHL playoff game?  April 10, 1990 - the Los Angeles Kings put 12 on the board against the Calgary Flames in Game 4 of the Smythe Division semifinal...after edging the Flames 2-1 in OT in Game 3, the Kings exploded to a 12-4 win, to go up 3-1 in the series...22 years and 8 days ago...L.A. would win that series in 6 games, but they'd get swept by Edmonton in the 2nd round...

In that 12-4 game, 3 separate players scored hat tricks, Dave Taylor, Tomas Sandstrom and Tony Granato, not to mention Wayne Gretzky had a goal and 4 assists...

I kind of figured Edmonton held the record, they outscored L.A. 13-3 on April 9, 1987...pretty sure Gretzky was big in that game too...

Ironic that the Kings were on both ends of the spectrum...

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11:33 PM: Kevin Bieksa one times a 65 footer past Quick...David Booth set him up, time of the goal 8:36 of the 2nd...

2-1 Canucks...

There appears to be a contingent of Vancouver fans not far from the broadcast booth...I wonder if they have intentions of leaving the Staples Center in one piece...those fans in L.A. are crazy...

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11:28 PM: So they still have the Eric Cartman "Go Kings Go" chant...was wondering about that...one would think a kid from Colorado would cheer for the Avalanche, but what do I know?!?

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11:22 PM: 1st power play goal for Vancouver in this series...and their first goal in almost 88 minutes...Alex Edler, his 2nd, at 4:07 of the 2nd period - it's tied 1-1...Colin Fraser was sitting for a trip...Dan Hamhuis and Daniel Sedin get helpers on the play...

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11:13 PM: Shots were 13-7 in favor of Los Angeles after 20 minutes...so far Daniel's return has done diddly squat for Vancouver...here's a thought...more shots on Jonathan Quick!!!

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10:50 PM: Party Rock Anthem on the organ!!?!

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10:49 PM: Anze Kopitar gives the Kings a 1-0 lead...at exactly 13 minutes of the 1st, Justin Williams and Willie Mitchell getting in on the goal...how sweet will this series victory be for Mitchell if the Kings pull off the upset?

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10:33 PM: 1st of the playoffs for Kyle Turris, and it couldn't come at a better time...2:42 into the 1st overtime period of Game 4, Jim O'Brien and Sergei Gonchar assisted...Sens win 3-2, and not only is this series deadlocked 2-2, so far it's the only one guaranteed to go 6 games...

Game 5 isn't until Saturday night, back in New York...

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10:21 PM: Goal picks - uLAr has Zack Smith for Ottawa, Ruslan Fedotenko for the Rangers, I've got Jason Spezza for Ottawa, Brian Boyle for the Rangers...

10-3 is now a final score...Penguins stave off elimination but still trail the series 3-1, heading back to the Consol...too bad they tore down the Igloo...but I think they sent a big message tonight - they're back...but is it too late?  Game 5, Friday night...

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10:17 PM: Daniel Sedin returns for Vancouver...

Just seeing in the headlines that Dick Clark has passed away at age 82...heart attack...

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10:12 PM: We go to overtime in Game 4 in Ottawa...Senators need this one...

Nothing to report in Philadelphia since the 10th Pittsburgh goal...

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10:00 PM: There's only been one penalty in the 3rd, but now Nick Foligno goes for a trip on Ryan Callahan...still tied 2-2 with 5:25 left...

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9:55 PM: Malkin thought he had his 2nd of the game in the 1st, but he definitely does now...4:04 of the 3rd, from Kunitz and Kennedy...

10-3...can't remember the last time a team scored 10 goals in a playoff game...tonight the Philadelphia goaltending has been questionable, while Fleury appears to have settled down...

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9:44 PM: Craig Anderson made a down but not out snow angel save...might have saved the series right there...or at least this game...

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9:33 PM: Spezza is back for the 3rd...but Jesse Winchester will not return...upper body injury...

--------------------

9:29 PM: End of the 2nd in Philly couldn't come fast enough for the Flyers...will keep an eye on this game, but can the Penguins really blow a 6 goal lead in 20 minutes?!?

3rd period about to get underway in Ottawa...

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9:21 PM: Here's where it starts to get ugly...Zac Rinaldo took out Zbynek Michalek in the corner with a couple of cross checks, and a punch to the head for good measure...double minor, cross check, 10 minute and a game misconduct...his night is over...

And here comes 10...one would think...

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9:19 PM: Don't think you'll see hats on the ice in Philly, but Jordan Staal has a hat trick, at 16:03, assist by Deryk Engelland...9-3...

--------------------

9:15 PM: So much for the 3 goal hex...and so much for the Philly goalie change...it's 8-3, Pittsburgh...Pascal Dupuis, the oddly quiet Pascal Dupuis has added his 2nd...Kunitz assisted, at 14:59...

Still 4 1/2 minutes left, while the Sens are already at the 2nd intermission...

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9:11 PM: Steve Sullivan with a power play goal at 10:55, assist from the goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury...7-3, Penguinos...I can't hear you Scotty Ferrall...but I hope you're enjoying...

Ottawa has just tied it...2-2...on a power play with Artem Anisimov in the box...17:50 of the 2nd, Sergei Gonchar from Nick Foligno and Chris Neil...the dreaded Neil/Foligno combination...

Unfortunately for Ottawa, though, Jason Spezza has left the game after taking an elbow to the head from Marc Staal...

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8:56 PM: Jordan Staal's 2nd of the game and 4th of the playoffs makes it 6-3, Penguins...Tyler Kennedy and Letang getting points, at 7:21, for once, the Penguins are playing their game and getting it done on the power play...but here's the bad news...it's the dreaded 3 goal lead...more bad news...both teams have 3 power play goals...

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8:50 PM: Milan Michalek has finally scored his 1st of these playoffs, and the Senators are on the board...

Pittsburgh up 5-3, and Ilya Bryzgalov has been yanked...Sergei Bobrovsky is now in goal...

The second Malkin goal is now Sidney Crosby's 3rd from Niskanen and Malkin...

The 5-3 goal was Kris Letang, on a power play, at 3:07 of the 2nd, from Crosby and Sullivan...

Michalek's goal in Ottawa, at 7:04 of the 2nd, Matt Carkner out of the penalty box and Jason Spezza assisted...

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8:30 PM: Don Cherry is predicting Raffi will get 10 games...we'll see...

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8:24 PM: Stats on the Staal goal - his 3rd of the playoffs, Eric Tangradi and Matt Cooke assisted...at 17:29...

It's the classic cliché...the best players have to be the best players...

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8:20 PM: 2 goals now from Pittsburgh...Malkin's 2nd of the period, from Crosby, at 16:19, and Jordan Staal has just scored...

4-3, Pens...it's another back and forth one...

End of the 1st period in Ottawa...still the Rangers with a 2-0 lead...

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8:15 PM: 3-2 Flyers...more penalty trouble for Pittsburgh...Chris Kunitz for interference at 13:02, Brooks Orpik for cross checking at 13:28, and Matt Cooke for cross checking at 13:52...Kimmo Timonen and Jakub Voracek have both scored goals on the power play, Timonen at 15:06, from Giroux and Danny Briere, Voraceck at 15:52, assists from Simmonds and Hartnell-down...

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7:56 PM: You can add assists from Pascal Dupuis and Richard Park to the Malkin goal...

The Pens have added another one...Matt Niskanen from Crosby and Sullivan, power play goal at 8:05...2-1, Pittsburgh...

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7:51 PM: Smith's penalty was just 39 seconds in, Stralman's goal, 49 seconds in, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik assisted...

Claude Giroux's 5th, also on a power play, at 1:14 with Steve Sullivan sitting for a high stick...Jaromir Jagr and Wayne Simmonds assisting...but Evgeni Malkin has tied it at 3:37...the goal was unassisted...

Rangers have gone up 2-0...Ryan Callahan's 2nd...another power play goal for New York...the Senators are not doing themselves any favors with their best defenseman (Karlsson) in the box...

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7:42 PM: Early power play for the Rangers with Zack Smith taking a boarding penalty...and the Rangers are up 1-0 thanks to Anton Stralman's 2nd of the playoffs...

Philly has scored too...more to come...

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7:34 PM: No Alfie for Game 4 between Ottawa and New York...in Philadelphia, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be missing James Neal, Craig Adams and Arron Asham, all to suspension...heard some very interesting comments out of Philly these past few days - the fans there want to know why if James Neal got a 1 game suspension, why then, didn't Sidney Crosby get suspended, fined, or anything...interesting...

I'll be doing the picture in picture tonight as both games are on at the same time...Philly wins, they complete the sweep...but that's not why I'll have my eye on both games...I heard somebody say there's the potential for fireworks...;)...

And of course, Los Angeles can complete the sweep tonight against Vancouver with a win...

Raffi Torres is suspended pending a hearing Friday...this could be a big one, folks...no further word on Marian Hossa, only that he is out of hospital...must have a hell of a headache today I would imagine...

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12:13 AM: Mikkel Boedker scores his first career NHL Playoff goal, and it's a big one at 13:15 of the 1st overtime...Taylor Pyatt was on the ice and drew an assist along with Rosti Klesla...3-2, Desert Dogs win and take a 2-1 series lead...the goal was another one that looked like the Patrick Kane Stanley Cup winner...seems to be the theme of the night...

One last note for the night, as somewhat of a foreshadow into tomorrow night and (maybe) beyond...perhaps the Penguins and Canucks can draw some inspiration from it - the Halifax Mooseheads did it...down 0-3 in their series, they came back to force Game 7, which they won - they needed OT to do it, but they did it...Nathan MacKinnon had three assists on the night, including a helper on Jonathan Drouin's GWG 14:58 into the 1st overtime...so the Mooseheads move on, the Quebec Remparts and Patrick Roy go home...

 

April 17, 2012

11:45 PM: Goal picks: Chicago - Patrick Sharp, Phoenix - Taylor Pyatt...

uLAr goes with Jonathan Toews for Chicago and Adrian Aucoin for Phoenix...

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11:32 PM: We do indeed have OT...again...

Reports indicate Marian Hossa has been released from hospital...

You can be sure to see a lot of people wearing these shirts in Philadelphia tomorrow: "Guess what - we don't like you either!"...

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11:27 PM: 3 goals in 65 seconds...and it's tied 2-2...now with 4:45 left in the 3rd...

Rostislav Klesla started the onslaught, with the 1-1 tying goal at 8:16, Michael Frolik put Chicago back up 2-1 at 8:49, and Ray Whitney tied it 2-2 at 9:21...Mikkel Boedker, Boyd Gordon, Klesla and Daymond Langkow all getting assists for Phoenix, and Seabrook and Bolland on the Chicago goal...

Do we get OT for the 3rd straight game in this series?

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10:58 PM: 1 game suspension for Washington's Nicklas Backstrom...as Sheriff Shanahan now most likely will start looking at the Torres hit...

Still 1-0, Hawks...3rd period just getting started...

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10:41 PM: Thought we were going to see a goalie fight at the end of the 2nd period in Chicago...Mike Smith and Corey Crawford had words for each other, but cooler heads prevailed...the way these playoffs have gone so far, a goalie fight wouldn't have been out of the realm of possibility...almost a shame it didn't happen...but if you're either goalie, in a tight series like this, do you really want to risk future suspension or ejection from the game?

The two captains had words for each other that lasted through the TV break before finally both teams retreated to their respective dressing rooms...

Kerry Fraser, in his "C'mon Ref!" segment on TSN, indicated Raffi Torres should have been assessed a 5 minute major for charging and a game misconduct...evidently Chicago coach Joel Quenneville felt the same way...telling NBC he can't believe 4 people missed it, referring of course to the referees, but indirectly...the NHL announced they were coming down hard on criticism about the officiating...I think they have to give Joel a pass on that one, though, after seeing one of his best players getting carted out on a stretcher...

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10:30 PM: Somehow with the goalie pulled and a 6 on 5 advantage,  Henrik Zetterberg managed to get called for high sticking Shea Weber, at 19:04...then at 19:21, the Detroit native, David Legwand, scored a goal Jimmy Howard will want back...3-1, Predators win Game 4, 3-1, Predators lead the series, heading home to kick the tires...Detroit out shot Nashville 41-17...

The NHL has announced their decisions for James Neal and Arron Asham - Neal gets 1 game, Asham gets 4 games...Asham might have to wait until next season to finish serving his...

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10:03 PM: Back in Detroit...Alex Radulov set up Gabriel Bourque for his 3rd of the playoffs, at 1:55 of the 3rd, and the scoreless tie was broken...Nashville would then get called for too many men on the ice at 2:44...and Detroit's Jiri Hudler would score on the power play, exactly 30 seconds later, at 3:14, assists by Niklas Kronwall and Kyle Quincey...Nashville has made up for the blunder, however, as Kevin Klein has his 2nd of the playoffs at 6:25, thanks in part to Martin Erat...

There's just slightly more than 9 minutes left...

And they gave the Chicago goal to Andrew Brunette, with Kane and Nick Leddy assisting, at 19:31 of the 1st...they're now in the 2nd period...

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9:42 PM: Brett Gustavsen must study Patrick Kane's game...the goal was similar to the one that won Chicago the Stanley Cup in 2010...the celebration was similar...the goal was scored just 2:09 into the extra frame, and the 67s advance to the Eastern Conference final where #1 will face #2...no upsets in the East so far...

We have goals in Detroit and in Chicago...just moments after the Patrick Kane-like goal, Kane himself scores with 28 seconds left in the 1st period for the Hawks...

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9:37 PM: Florida wins Game 3, 4-3, leads the series 2-1...Gord Miller called it...the Devils probably wish they'd never left the Meadowlands...lots of game still left in this series, though...

Overtime underway in Ottawa...

They just showed Gary Bettman in the crowd in Chicago...can't wait to hear the NHL Hour on Thursday...

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9:31 PM: Empty net...New Jersey...Florida ices the puck with 57.5 seconds left...

Back in Chicago...Brandon Bollig got a 10 minute misconduct and Dave Bolland got 2 minutes for roughing...nothing for Torres...as for Hossa, he gets to see the inside of an ambulance...

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9:26 PM: Marian Hossa just got KO'ed by Raffi Torres...shades of Game 3 Vancouver-Chicago last year...Torres vs Seabrook...

They're bringing the stretcher out...

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9:24 PM: The Ottawa 67s were almost on their way to the 3rd round - tied 2-2, they scored to make it 3-2, with just 24 seconds left and the crowd at the J. Benson Centre on their feet...then a waved off icing call allowed Barrie to make one last rush, and the Winnipeg Jets' 1st rounder, Mark Scheifele, tied it with 8 seconds left...tied 3-3...Game 7 is going to OT...

Kitchener has won their game 6-3...they will move on to face London...

Still scoreless in Detroit after 40 minutes, Florida still up 4-3 in New Jersey with 5:30 left...and Phoenix-Chicago is just underway...

The channel surfing is on now!!!

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8:57 PM: Nashville just got away with one...David Legwand had his glove over the puck in the crease in an attempt to clear it away from Pekka Rinne...referee was right there, didn't make the call...

Oddly enough...the Joe Louis Arena crowd didn't appear to notice either...

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8:42 PM: 2nd intermission at The Rock...still 4-3, Florida...2nd period just started in Detroit...

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8:27 PM: Nothing yet to report in Detroit in Game 4 against Nashville...

Meanwhile, Florida has come all the way back, something neither team was able to do in the first two games, and now leads New Jersey 4-3, in the 2nd...

Towards the end of the 1st period, New Jersey got into penalty trouble...Patrik Elias took an unsportsmanlike penalty at 15:16, and 55 seconds into the power play, at 16:11, Sean Bergenheim got Florida on the board...Scottie Upshall and even the goalie, Scott Clemmensen, got assists...before the period was over, Bryce Salvador and Steve Bernier both got into it with Scottie Upshall, and all three got called for roughing...4 on 3, at 19:52...Mr. Garrison, Jason that is, scored his first career NHL playoff goal, Bergenheim and Brian Campbell helped out...after 20 minutes, all of a sudden it was 3-2...again...

2:18 into the 2nd, Mike Weaver tied it 3-3...that goal assisted by Jerred Smithson and Upshall...Martin Brodeur's night would be over, in came Johan Hedberg...then the penalty woes continue...Petr Sykora got called for a high stick on Tomas Fleischmann at 5:22...Fleischmann and Mikhail Samuelsson would set up Brian Campbell at 6:34 for his 1st of the playoffs and what is presently the go ahead goal...4-3, Panthers...

So, I watch all but five minutes of the first period of Nashville-Detroit, and this is what happens...3-0...the most dangerous lead in hockey...yet again...

They're now at the 1st intermission, still scoreless...

OHL Playoffs - Game 7, Ottawa 67s-Barrie Colts, tied 1-1 after 40 minutes...winner gets Niagara in the Eastern Conference final...in Game 7 of the Western Conference semi-final between Kitchener and Plymouth, the Rangers are up 4-2, also heading into the 3rd...winner gets London...

In the WHL...Edmonton and Moose Jaw have to wait until Friday to kick off their Eastern Conference final series...the Oil Kings are a perfect 8-0 in the playoffs...so Rexall Place continues to see some good times, despite the Oilers failing to make the postseason yet again...in the Western Conference, both 2nd round series are going to Game 7 tomorrow night...Portland and Kamloops as well as Tri-City and Spokane fight it out for the right to advance...

And speaking of coming back from down 0-3...in the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads were down 0-3 against the Quebec Remparts, and won the next 3 games to force Game 7, which is presently tied 3-3 in the 3rd period...all but one series in the 2nd round (Saint John swept Baie-Comeau) have gone the distance...the reason all eyes are on Halifax is because they have the player touted to be the next Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon...and he's played a huge role in the comeback...

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7:26 PM: Goals fast and furious in this one...so we have Zach Parise, from Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk, just 33 seconds in; Stephen Gionta with his 1st career NHL Playoff goal at 3:27, from Marek Zidlicky and Steve Bernier; then at 5:16, a penalty for interference taken by Kris Versteeg - ensuing power play, Patrik Elias scored at 6:16, from Parise and David Clarkson...that was it for Jose Theodore, Scott Clemmensen is now in goal for Florida...and it's 3-0, Devils...

Third straight game to start 3-0...so far neither team can seem to get to 4-0...I have a feeling that's about to change...but, then again, neither team seems to be able to come all the way back, either...

Nashville-Detroit is a 7:30 start...Phoenix-Chicago, 9:00...

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7:19 PM: The New Jersey Devils said they were happy to be home...and it shows...they're already up 2-0 and looking for more...

Make that 3-0...

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3:34 PM: Andrew Shaw gets 3 games for elbowing Mike Smith to the head...Smith is still a game time decision...huge blow for Phoenix if he can't go, especially at the Madhouse...

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2:04 PM: Washington's Nick Backstrom is suspended for Game 4, pending a hearing/review by the NHL's department of player safety - Backstrom was involved in an altercation with Boston's Rich Peverley at the end of last night's Game 3 - he cross checked Peverley to the head and was assessed a match penalty...

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12:58 PM: No Hal Gill again for Nashville going into Game 4 against Detroit...Gill was already banged up coming into this series - he has already missed the first 3 games...

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12:34 PM: $10,000 fine for Dan Bylsma and a one game suspension for Craig Adams...Adams for instigating a fight towards the end of Game 3 and Bylsma for allowing him to be out there...

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12:46 AM: They had added a couple of seconds, but no dice...the Sharks end up singing the Blues...

St. Louis 4  San Jose 3...Blues lead the series 2-1...

Playoffs Tuesday - Florida-New Jersey Game 3, Nashville-Detroit Game 4, and Phoenix-Chicago Game 3...

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12:42 AM: Teams have traded goals in the 3rd...Alex Steen 59 seconds in, on that power play I mentioned, made it 4-1 St. Louis...McDonald with another assist - 3 points on the night for McDonald and Colaiacovo...then, at 16:58, Colin White made it 4-2, with helpers from Ryane Clowe and Joe Thornton...

Thornton may have killed any momentum the Sharks may have had by taking a late penalty, but wait...the Sharks have just scored with the goalie pulled...just 16.8 seconds left...

All of a sudden, It's 4-3...time out - Sharks...

 

April 16, 2012

11:52 PM: 40 minutes done in Game 3, and St. Louis has added to their lead - San Jose's Douglas Murray has been throwing his weight around, and got called for interference 9:28 into the 2nd - Jason Arnott then led by example and scored on the power play at 10:06, thanks in part to Andy McDonald and Alex Steen...it's 3-1, Blues...

Thought we might actually get through a period without a questionable hit - no such luck - Daniel Winnik went full tilt into Colaiacovo, and will serve the final 1:39 of a boarding penalty when the 3rd gets underway...

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11:13 PM: St. Louis regains the lead thanks to Andy McDonald's 2nd of the playoffs at 1:01 of the 2nd period, set up by Berglund and Colaiacovo...

2-1 Blues...

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10:49 PM: Tied 1-1 at the 1st intermission...Sharks scored on a power play with Roman Polak in the sin bin for a cross check on Joe Thornton...Brent Burns' 1st of the playoffs from Thornton and Logan Couture, at 16:45...

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10:37 PM: Blues strike first on a power play of their own...Patrik Berglund with his 3rd of the playoffs at 14:31, Carlo Colaiacovo and Jason Arnott assisted...

1-0 St. Louis...

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10:23 PM: First game of this series to end in regulation time...4-3, the final score, Bruins lead the series 2-1...next game not until Thursday...a lot of series getting the extra day between Games 3 and 4...

Meanwhile down in northern California, the Sharks are on a power play...

This game started with Douglas Murray lowering the boom on T.J. Oshie...just five seconds into it...both were none the worse for wear...look out!!

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10:20 PM: With Nick Backstrom already in the box, Milan Lucic got into it with Karl Alzner and then Matt Hendricks...Lucic got 4 minutes (2 separate roughing minors), Hendricks 2...ensuing power play, Zdeno Chara scored his 1st of the playoffs, at 18:07, on a shot that deflected past Holtby off Roman Hamrlik's stick...Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg scored points on the play...

4-3, Boston...

46 seconds left...time out, Washington...Holtby is on the bench for the extra attacker...

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10:08 PM: Tied 3-3 as Brooks Laich scores his 1st of the playoffs, at exactly 14 minutes into the 3rd, Nick Backstrom and Mike Green assisted...do we have overtime for the 3rd straight game in this series?!?

Blues-Sharks, about to get underway...

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10:02 PM: 1-0 is a final score from Ottawa...the NY Rangers now lead the series 2-1...Lundqvist made 39 saves for the shutout...

Going back in time to that 1-0 Colorado win over San Jose in 2010...Dan Boyle scored an own goal in OT to help Anderson and the Avs win that game...fast forward to 2012, and Rangers win 1-0 against Anderson and the Ottawa Senators...Brian Boyle gets the GWG...how ironic is that?!!?  Must be some sort of space time continuum thing...

Still 3-2 Boston at the Verizon Center...8:30 left there...

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9:45 PM: 3-2, Boston...Brian Rolston with his 1st of the playoffs at 1:02 of the 3rd period, thanks in part to two former Sens...Chris Kelly and Zdeno Chara...

Meanwhile, still 1-0 Rangers, Ottawa pressing for the equalizer...they better hurry...

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9:29 PM: After a huge series of saves at one end, Brian Boyle goes the other way and gets his 3rd of the playoffs, Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan assisted...at 7:35...still plenty of time for Ottawa, but King Henrik is standing on his head...

1-0 Rangers...

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9:26 PM: 2nd intermission in Washington...exactly 5 minutes into the 3rd, still scoreless in Ottawa...

Starting to hear the car horns now...lots of Sens flags on cars...haven't seen so many since their run in 2007...

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9:03 PM: End of the 2nd in Ottawa...shots are 25-16 in favor of the Senators...this is looking eerily similar to 2010 - that Game 3 between San Jose and Colorado, isn't it?!  Craig Anderson won that game 1-0 in OT...or should I say, the Sharks helped it along...

Bruins have tied the score 2-2...Daniel Paille at 9:38 of the 2nd from Greg Zanon and Greg Campbell...somehow that game still has 8 minutes left in the 2nd...I guess when you don't score any goals the time goes faster...

As the fire trucks rush down my street, again...

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8:51 PM: It's 2-1 Washington...Rich Peverley squared the affair at 1-1, converted a Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference setup, 35 seconds into the 2nd...but Alex Ovechkin skated back down the ice and scored to make it 2-1...just 13 seconds later at 48 seconds...Brooks Laich and Roman Hamrlik drew assists...

Still no score to report in Ottawa...they reviewed a play in the Ottawa net...no goal...

If you're watching the game and somebody asks you what's the score...tell 'em we're in OT...

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8:49 PM: Just got a text message from an old friend of mine...said "Go Toronto...LMAO"...um...right...must be watching the Jays...;)

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8:16 PM: No score to report yet from Ottawa, at the 1st intermission...Washington is up 1-0 on Boston thanks to Alex Semin's 1st power play goal of the playoffs, 16 minutes into the 1st, Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich with helpers...Zdeno Chara was in the box for roughing...

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7:55 PM: They're still doing the "Alfie" chant when the clock hits 11 minutes...

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7:49 PM: Does Bob Cole really need to remind us that Chris Phillips wears #4, or is he reminding himself!?!?

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7:48 PM: Marc Staal - 2 minutes for interference...

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7:47 PM: Penalty is killed off...

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7:43 PM: Jason Spezza...two minutes for Cross checking...I imagine the officials will call this one a little tighter than the first two games...

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7:33 PM: No Alfie...not too much of a surprise...Bobby Butler will replace him, and Matt Gilroy gets back in for the suspended Matt Carkner...for the Rangers, Chris Kreider, playing in his first career NHL game, will replace Carl Hagelin...

No change in either lineup for Boston or Washington...while CBC's Bruce Rainey was describing both teams as having "Titanic" goaltending, Ron Maclean came back with this "one could argue the titanic goaltending is in Philadelphia, both teams (in that series) great until they hit the ice"...ouch!!!!!

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5:49 PM: $2,500 fine to Zenon Konopka as well as a $10,000 fine to the Ottawa Senators "for his verbal abuse directed at a New York Rangers player conducting a live television interview nearby during pre-game warm ups"...

Alfie is still being listed as a Game Time decision...

All of a sudden, now, Daniel Sedin has been cleared for practice, and will apparently join the Vancouver Canucks in L.A....whether or not he plays Game 4 remains to be seen...is it really going to matter?

Still waiting for a decision on Andrew Shaw...apparently James Neal and Arron Asham both face hearings on Tuesday...Mr. Shanahan is a busy man...

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5:04 PM: I have to chuckle at the little bullet at the top of the latest issue of Macleans magazine: "Why won't Canada love the Canucks?"...let's see...where would you like me to start?...

I'm sure the playoffs had not yet started when that issue went to the printers, but as of last night, start with the fact the Canucks have lost 5 straight playoff games, putting them at risk of getting swept in the first round, a year removed from going to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final...

Based on what we've seen so far, even though Cory Schneider had no chance on the goal last night, neither goaltender has been able to keep the puck out long enough to allow the offense to click...and click it hasn't...Canucks can't beat Jonathan Quick...period...

And, unlike some of the other teams in the playoffs...the Canucks, still, seem unwilling to go to war for their team mates...they didn't press the issue when Duncan Keith went after Daniel Sedin...and they didn't press the issue when Brown went after Henrik last night...sorry, there's a difference between going after a guy and pounding him into submission (Bertuzzi), and actually sending a message...hugging matches don't work...get in there and fight...

I don't know...I realize only 3 teams in NHL history have ever come back from down 0-3 to win a series in 7 games...but you have to think with what both Vancouver and Pittsburgh have on paper that at least one, if not both, will try to become the 4th...don't forget too, the tables have turned a little bit on Vancouver...they were the ones up 3-0 last spring until Chicago rallied right to the point where they forced OT in Game 7...

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11:47 AM: The Ottawa Sun is reporting Daniel Alfredsson's Game 3 status will be a game time decision...Boston-Washington is also a 7:30 start, and St. Louis is in San Jose for Game 3 starting at 10:00...

Chicago's Andrew Shaw faces his hearing today...probably will hear something about Arron Asham as well...

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1:18 AM: Dustin Brown scored his 4th off of a Justin Williams rebound, Anze Kopitar drew a secondary assist...at 6:30 of the 3rd...Jonathan Quick would make 16 more saves, for a final game total of 41...it was all the Kings needed...they win Game 3 1-0, lead the series 3-0...the President's Trophy winners, are on the verge of getting swept...

So two teams, Pittsburgh and Vancouver, who many had pegged to be in the final, could both be done in four straight...I don't think anybody saw that coming...unbelievable...

Meanwhile...in the OHL - the Ottawa 67s did it...they beat the Barrie Colts 3-2 to tie their series 3-3, it comes back to Ottawa for Game 7 on Tuesday...they're not ready to knock down the old Civic Centre just yet...

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12:29 AM: Still scoreless, at the 2nd intermission...shots are now 25-11, still in Vancouver's favor...quite the parade to the penalty box, not to mention a big hit on Henrik Sedin by Dustin Brown 2:53 into the period...Henrik appears to be OK, as he has stayed in the game, but the nasty factor has ramped up a notch...Alex Burrows and Anze Kopitar dropped the gloves, and then Kevin Bieksa went after Brown...just when I was starting to feel that we'd almost made it through two games without an incident...

Next goal wins, methinks...series defining period, coming right up...

 

April 15, 2012

11:23 PM: New Jersey-Florida is tied 1-1, headed back to Newark...Devils had a late flurry, but like Florida in Game 1, were unable to tie it...Tomas Fleischmann scored into an empty net in the final split seconds...4-2 the final...as the rats fly yet again...

No score yet to report from Los Angeles after 20 minutes...shots were 11-5 in favor of Vancouver...

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9:50 PM: Catching up on some of the news...for tomorrow night's Game 3 in Kanata, we won't have Matt Carkner or Carl Hagelin...Carkner got 1 game, Hagelin got 3...it's unknown yet if Alfie will play or not...

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9:33 PM: OK...back for the 3rd period...and the tables appear to have turned in Game 2 between New Jersey and Florida...it was the Panthers getting the 3-0 lead, but the Devils have scored twice in 1:14 to make the score 3-2...and plenty of time left to tie or even win it outright...

Just watched an interview with Sidney Crosby, where he made it pretty clear that he doesn't like the Flyers, period...well that's all fine and dandy, but your team is in an 0-3 hole against them...time to suck it up...

Anyhow - back to Sunrise...

Penalty trouble for New Jersey early in this one...just 11 seconds in, Andy Greene was called for a trip on Marcel Goc, and just 12 seconds later, 0:23 of the 1st period, Stephen Weiss, who has waited a long time to score his first NHL Playoff goal, did so...a power play marker from Mikael Samuelsson and Kris Versteeg...and Florida led 1-0 before most fans were even in their seats...it would stay that way until 1:12 of the 2nd, when Weiss would do it again...David Clarkson and Alex Ponikarovsky would both get penalties at 19:43 of the 1st, Clarkson for charging Erik Gudbranson and Ponikarovsky for putting a high stick on him...all of a sudden Weiss had 2 on the night and 2 playoff goals for his career, Goc and Jason Garrison factors on the play...before the game was 40 minutes old, Goc would get his 1st of the playoffs, thanks in part to Brian Campbell and Sean Bergenheim...even strength at 14:39...the 3-0 lead would hold until the 2nd intermission...

Now in the 3rd, Travis Zajac just 48 seconds in (Greene, Ponikarovsky assisted), and Ilya Kovalchuk at 2:02 (Adam Henrique), and we have a hockey game to close out Game 3...

Canucks-Kings is a 10:30 start at the Staples Center...

--------------------

6:20 PM: Talbot adds a 2nd shorthanded goal today for good measure...the gong show comes to an end, and it's an 8-4 Flyers win, and a commanding 3-0 series lead...

There's an extra day between games 3 and 4, Penguins are apparently going back to Pittsburgh, but are they merely prolonging the inevitable?

More to come on this one, I'm sure...

I'll have a wrap up of New Jersey-Florida later on...going to see "The Three Stooges"...feel like I've been watching the teaser trailer live on the ice all afternoon...more than three "stooges" on that Pittsburgh team right now...

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5:58 PM: Crosby went with Hartnell, actually grabbed him by the scruff of the neck...then let Craig Adams in...they're sounding the bells in Philly...there's equipment and body parts all over the ice...well, ;)...equipment, anyhow...

4:42 left...

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5:58 PM: Tempers are flaring again...James Neal took out Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux, both within the span of a minute...

And Crosby continues to go on the ice...not smart if you ask me...this could get ugly...

Fans are chanting "You can't beat us!" and "Let's Go Flyers!"...

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5:33 PM: All the rage going into this series was if Philadelphia's goaltending would be good enough...while it hasn't been great, so far it's been Pittsburgh's goaltending that has really let their team down...

Marc-Andre Fleury has been yanked in favor of Brent Johnson for the 3rd period...and he hasn't fared much better...it's 7-4 Flyers, thanks to Claude Giroux' 4th of the playoffs, just 27 seconds into the 3rd, Jagr with another assist...

I never ever expected this series had the potential of ending in a sweep...but, this is why we play the games, right?

--------------------

5:09 PM: Wayne Simmonds on another power play at 19:14, assist from Braydon Coburn...it's 6-4, now at the 2nd intermission...Kunitz was off again, this time for a slash...

Now up to 80 penalty minutes in the game...

Still awaiting news on three hearing expected today - Carl Hagelin, Matt Carkner and Andrew Shaw...probably will be at least one more tomorrow (Asham)...

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5:01 PM: Jordan Staal's 2nd of the game at 15:40...for once an even strength goal...it's 5-4...Neal and Kunitz with more points...

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4:58 PM: 2nd career NHL Playoff goal and 2nd of the game for Matt Read, on another power play, at 14:18, Jagr and Schenn with helpers...5-3, Flyers...Penguins were just 12 seconds away from killing off a Chris Kunitz tripping penalty...

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4:56 PM: James Neal's 2nd of the game at 10:31 from Malkin and Crosby has the Penguins within 1...it's 4-3...a power play goal as Nick Grossman got called for kneeing Neal...

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4:42 PM: Things look to have settled down in Philadelphia...somewhat...this game has definitely lived up to the old Rodney Dangerfield joke...went to see a fight and a hockey game broke out...

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4:22 PM: 3rd straight 3-2 score between Nashville and Detroit in Game 3 as the series shifted North to Michigan...now it's a 2-1 series lead for Nashville...this one seemed pretty calm in the penalties department, compared to the game on right now...

It was Shea Weber kicking things off, 2:48 into the 1st, on a power play, with Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Radulov assisting...after 20 minutes it was a 1-0 Predators lead...they would lead 2-0 3:50 into the 2nd period as Martin Erat set up Kevin Klein for his 1st of the playoffs...at 15:03, Pavel Datysuk would cut the lead back to 1, and after 2 periods it was 2-1...Detroit thought they had a goal late in the 2nd period, but replays showed the puck crossed the line after the clock ran out...Sergei Kostitsyn would get in on the act, late, at 16:30 of the 3rd, thanks in part to Mike Fisher and Kevin Klein...Predators would lead 3-1...Detroit would get a late power play, and would score at 19:06, Henrik Zetterberg would convert a Datsyuk and Nicklas Kronwall setup to make it 3-2...that's as close as they would come...

Vancouver is expected to play Cory Schneider in Game 3...it would appear they've already pressed the panic button...Daniel Sedin won't be back for this series, or at least we assume that much since he did not make the trip to L.A....coach Alain Vigneault's words on the subject were not encouraging...

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4:09 PM: Matt Read's first career playoff goal at 15:40, Briere not so quietly has 3 points already...4-2 Flyers...there's still 4:20 left in the 1st...they're calling it another shorthanded goal?

72 penalty minutes in this game already...

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4:07 PM: James Neal makes it 3-2...1st of the playoffs and just his 2nd career NHL playoff goal...Matt Niskanen with the lone assist...at 15:17 of the first...

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4:06 PM: Schenn gets a charging penalty, and Asham gets the gate...four on four for now, but Philly will have 3 minutes of power play time, barring any further hijinks...

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4:02 PM: Aaron Asham just took out Brayden Schenn in the corner with a cross check and a punch to the head after Schenn threw a perfect hit on Martin...he'll be getting a call from Sheriff Shanahan methinks...that's just wrong...Schenn is still down, but getting up...slowly...

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3:57 PM: The penalties...Sullivan and Voracek, 2 minutes each for roughing...Giroux and Crosby, 5 each for fighting...Letang, 5 for fighting and the game...Timonen, 2 for slashing, 5 for fighting and the game...Pens get a 5 on 4 power play out of it...at 12:02 of the 1st...both teams lose one of their top offensive threats for 5 minutes...and both teams lose a top defenseman for the game...this could hurt Pittsburgh more than Philadelphia...

I'd say this pot has boiled over just a bit...

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3:53 PM: Alright...calling the first Barn Burner Alert of the playoffs...Crosby and Giroux just threw down, started another all out brawl...Timonen and Letang, and Read and Martin...they're all yelling at each other in the penalty box...Letang and Timonen are out of the game...maybe...it's a good thing the boxes are separated by glass...

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3:49 PM: It is electric at the Wells Fargo Center...Briere scores again...3-1 Flyers...where was the D on that play?!  Despite being OK positionally, Michalek has to get back faster on that play...no way Briere should be able to get in on the left side like that...twice...

Both coaches have already used their time outs...

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3:41 PM: 45th career playoff goal for Danny Briere, 3rd of these playoffs at 8:19...Hartnell-Down and Jagr getting points on the play...2-1 Philly...and they stay on the power play...

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3:39 PM: 5 on 3...cross checking call for Kris Letang...the Penguins have simply come unglued...

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3:37 PM: Even up calls on both sides...and somehow it's 4 on 3...somehow Carle and Cooke didn't even get penalties out of the whole mess, they were the first to start chucking knuckles...

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3:34 PM: Another shorthanded goal for Max Talbot...and it's on all over the ice...Matt Carle and Matt Cooke, Claude Giroux and Matt Niskanen...1-1 the score, and penalties coming up for sure...Fleury should get that trapper glove checked...couldn't cover up the puck, it squeaked by him into the net...Giroux and Carle draw helpers on the goal, 6:44 into the 1st...

Special teams are working well for at least one team...

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3:31 PM: Game 3 - Pittsburgh-Philadelphia...guess we can't really read too much into the fact that Pittsburgh is already up 1-0, given they were up early in the first two games.....Jordan Staal with his 1st goal of the playoffs, 3:52 into the 1st period, assists from Chris Kunitz and Zbynek Michalek...

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1:08 AM: Brian Bickell started the scoring...and ended it...(how many times have I said that already this postseason?!)...10:36 into the 1st overtime, Viktor Stalberg gets a helper...Hawks win 4-3, and the series is tied 1-1 heading back to the Madhouse on Madison...

Did Bickell really just say it's nice to get the two points?!!?!  Well, hopefully his performance tonight is a good omen for his former junior team, the Ottawa 67s, just like it seems the former Senators' big goals was a good omen for tonight...

I'll tell you what...if the Rangers know what's good for them, they'll book their hotel for Games 3 and 4 in Ogdensburg, New York instead of anywhere in the vicinity of Ottawa...it'd probably be just as long a drive to the rink...Watertown, anyone?!

Carl Hagelin has already been told he'll have a hearing Sunday afternoon for the hit on Alfie...

Plenty more action coming this afternoon...on this 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy...think the movie's already shown about six times on TV already...a special 3D version is in theatres...

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1:04 AM: A game of inches...Antoine Vermette was that close to his 1st career playoff hat trick...Crawford made an unbelievable toe save while down in the crease, but not out...we keep playing...

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12:51 AM: They do indeed give the tying goal to Sharp...

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12:41 AM: Patrick Sharp may have got a piece of it, but no matter what, we're going to OT...

Martin Hanzal, the Game 1 OT hero, and Lauri Korpikoski have both left this game with injuries...

So I've got Dave Bolland for Chicago, Ray Whitney for Phoenix...

uLAr has Patrick Sharp, and the guy who left Game 1 for what appears now to have been for precautionary measures - Radim Vrbata, for Phoenix...

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12:37 AM: This is becoming a habit...Brent Seabrook scored with 14.2 seconds left in Game 1 to tie the game and send it to OT...he's done it again...this time with just 5.5 left on the clock, and he ties the game 3-3...again we head to OT in Phoenix...

Unbelievable...all but one game today needed OT to decide...and how long will it take tonight?!  Even the Women's World Hockey Championship game evidently went to OT...

 

April 14, 2012

11:45 PM: Getting close to the 2nd intermission in Phoenix...Corey Crawford just made what could be a game saving save for Chicago...

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11:26 PM: Coyotes have scored one on the major penalty...and still have plenty of time...3-2...Vermette again, from Keith Yandle and Derek Morris...at 8:41...

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11:22 PM: 5 minute major for charging and a game misconduct for Shaw...looks like Smith is OK and will stay in the game, but he was very slow to get up...12:49 left in the 2nd...

The 2-1 goal, scored by Antoine Vermette, on a power play, at 13:44 of the 1st...and it was still 2-1 Phoenix at the 20 minute intermission...Brandon Bollig has his first career NHL playoff goal (in fact, I think that's his first NHL goal, period), for Chicago, at 6:56, assists by Nick Leddy and Duncan Keith, tied the game 2-2...

The hit on goalie Smith took place at 7:11...

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11:19 PM: It's tied 2-2 in the second between Chicago and Phoenix...more on the goals in a second...

Mike Smith is down and hurt behind the Phoenix net...shoulder right to the chin by Andrew Shaw...

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10:28 PM: Raffi Torres ties the game on a nice finish in the slot from a behind the net feed from Shane Doan...1-1 at 8:52 of the 1st...

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10:25 PM: Andy McDonald from T.J. Oshie and Alex Pietrangelo...the 3-0 St. Louis goal...that series looks like it's starting to boil over...look out when this one gets to the Shark Tank...

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10:23 PM: It's an all out brawl in St. Louis...but the Blues win Game 2, 3-0...not clear on who scored the 3-0 goal, but it came late at 19:35 of the 3rd...

Brian Bickell has a power play goal to give Chicago an early 1-0 lead...aside from the player who scored the goal, so far a carbon copy of Game 1 in Phoenix for Game 2...

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10:18 PM: 1:17 into the 1st OT, and while the box score is presently saying Smith, it was actually Chris Neil's goal...well, they both have the number 5 on their sweater...Smith is #15, Neil is #25...

Ottawa wins 3-2, ties the series 1-1...crucial win for the Sens...now they'll just have to wait for good news about Alfie...

The Rangers may have lost a key member of their defense...Ryan McDonagh had to be helped off the ice after the goal was scored, as he somehow ended up in the middle of what better resembled a rugby scrum...

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10:00 PM: Goal picks...I've got Zack Smith for Ottawa, Ryan Callahan for NY...and I'm guessing, like me this afternoon, uLAr is not home, because he is saying Alfredsson for Ottawa or Marian Gaborik for the Rangers...

Second straight Game 2 to go to OT...

I was out this afternoon when Boston-Washington went to OT...but uLAr had picked Tyler Seguin for Boston or Nicklas Backstrom for Washington...and Backstrom indeed got the goal in 2OT...

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9:55 PM: OT at MSG...as Ottawa breathes a huge sigh of relief, and gasps for air at the same time...heard somebody today saying they weren't even going to watch the game, anticipating a repeat of Game 1...

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9:50 PM: Tied 2-2 with 2 minutes left in the 3rd period...St. Louis is up 2-0 in the 3rd...

The man who will most likely be public enemy #1 in Ottawa when the scene shifts here for Games 3 and 4, Brian Boyle, put the Rangers up 2-1 just 2:41 into the 3rd...but Nick Foligno has tied it at 15:23...Zenon Konopka has an assist on the goal...and it looks like we might have OT...Daniel Alfredsson has not returned and is not expected to...

In St. Louis, they've lost Jaroslav Halak to a "lower body injury", so former Senators goalie Brian Elliott is the guy in goal, and continuing work on a shutout...David Backes converted a T.J. Oshie feed 13:49 into the 2nd period...there's still about 15 minutes left in the 3rd...

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8:59 PM: Erik Karlsson has taken a lot of abuse in this series so far, but he has drawn the Sens even with the Rangers, on yet another major penalty, at 13:50 of the 2nd...Filip Kuba assisted...this game has been nasty...Daniel Alfredsson has left this game after taking an elbow to the head from Carl Hagelin similar to the one that caused him to miss some time earlier in the season...ironically enough, it was against the Rangers he took that hit...he did leave the ice on his own steam...Sens capitalized on the major penalty...

2nd intermission from MSG...

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8:30 PM: 12 minutes left in the 2nd period, and it's a 1-0 Rangers lead...Anton Stralman's power play goal 10:11 into the 1st is standing up as the only goal so far...

Vladimir Sobotka's first of the playoffs has St. Louis up 1-0 on San Jose after 20 minutes...I'm told Marc-Edouard Vlasic actually helped it along to put his team into a real pickle...

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7:33 PM: Boston-Washington Game 2 was another overtime classic...it was scoreless until the game was almost 38 minutes old, at 17:57 of the 2nd, Troy Brouwer scored Washington's first goal and first lead of the series, Alex Ovechkin and Karl Alzner with their first points of the tournament...12:13 into the 3rd, Brian Rolston and Chris Kelly set up Benoit Pouliot's first career NHL Playoff goal, and it was tied 1-1...we would need overtime...nothing doing in the 1st overtime period, but 2:56 into the 2nd overtime, Marcus Johansson fed Nicklas Backstrom for the OT winner, and the series tying win...series tied 1-1, heading back to Washington...

Early into Ottawa-NY Rangers Game 2...the Senators have just killed off a five minute major...Matt Carkner got 2, 5, 10 and the game for instigating a fight with Brian Boyle just 2:15 in...Brandon Dubinsky got 2, 10, the game, and probably claimed a Gatorade cooler on his way off the ice...

Still scoreless at MSG, with 11:50 left in the 1st period...now they can hopefully settle down and play...

And more fisticuffs...now Boyle and Chris Neil...look out...

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12:55 AM: 4-2 the final score, again...2-0 series lead for the Kings...

Will the tables turn?  Same question can be asked of Pittsburgh...

Playoffs Saturday - Boston-Washington Game 2 at 3:00 PM, New York-Ottawa at 7, St. Louis-San Jose at 7:30 and Phoenix-Chicago at 10:00...

Ottawa 67s staved off elimination with a close 2-1 win over the Barrie Colts...they have to go back to Barrie for Game 6, though, still down 3-2...that game is Sunday night...if they can force Game 7, Tuesday night back here in Ottawa...

In the OHL West, London took a 3-2 lead in their series against Saginaw with a 2-1 OT win....Plymouth-Kitchener is deadlocked 2-2...

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12:49 AM: They've still allowed Brown to have the hat trick goal, assisted by Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams...still think they'll change it when they get a chance to review all the replays...

Trevor Lewis scored his 1st of the playoffs at 14:51, and Sam Pahlsson has replied at 16:22...it's another 4-2 Los Angeles lead...

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12:25 AM: 3-1, the Kings lead...they're calling it a Dustin Brown hat trick, but replays clearly show it's Jarret Stoll's goal...power play goal, at 8:30 of the 3rd period...special teams, the tale of the day...

So far this is playing out eerily similar to that Detroit-Vancouver series from 10 years ago, in 2002...the one where the Canucks, as the 8th seed, stole two games from the President's Trophy winners Detroit on the road and were leading Game 3 at home...then Nick Lidstrom scored that floater from centre ice...Wings never looked back after that, they came back to win Game 3 and the series in 6 games...Canucks need a divine intervention like that from the Hockey Gods...

Still enough time left in Game 2, though...

Have I really been doing the Puckin' Around thing for 10 years?!?!  The playoff preview from 2002 was the fourth ever column...

 

April 13, 2012

11:28 PM: Dustin Brown gets his 2nd shortie of this game...at 5:17 L.A. retakes the lead...2-1, Kings...

They've fixed the assist on the Hansen goal to Henrik...I don't even know if Edler was on the ice for the goal...

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11:15 PM: Tied 1-1, 17 seconds into the 2nd period...Jannik Hansen deflects a Henrik Sedin rolling shot past Jonathan Quick...

They're giving the assist to Alex Edler!?

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11:04 PM: Interesting seeing Bruce Boudreau on the HNIC panel, minus all the F-bombs a la HBO's 24-7...

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10:56 PM: 1-0 Los Angeles after 20 minutes in Vancouver...the goal came in the dying seconds of the 1st period, with 8.6 seconds left...Dustin Brown, shorthanded, assisted by Anze Kopitar...Roberto Luongo was down, stacked pads, and everybody, including Jim Hughson, thought Chris Tanev had made the save in the crease...the puck found the back of the net under the padding, that's how hard Brown shot it in...practically his 2nd empty net goal of the series...

Canucks better wake up...

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10:17 PM: Claude Giroux caps off a 6 point night, with an empty net hat trick...Flyers win 8-5...biggest offensive explosion of the playoffs so far...everyone thought this would go 7 games...it could be done in 4...ouch!!!  The Consol Energy Center hex continues...the Penguins have a brutal record against the Flyers in their new home, but have been great at the Wells Fargo Center...Game 3, Sunday at 3:00 PM...

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10:12 PM: 1st career playoff series for Sean Couturier, 1st career playoff hat trick...7-5 Flyers, now with 94 seconds left...

The Penguins are in big trouble...I can hear Scott Ferrall freaking out all the way from New York...

Detroit wins 3-2, that series is now tied 1-1...two straight 3-2 scores...Nashville has never won a playoff game at the Joe Louis Arena...that'll have to change if they want to win this series...

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10:02 PM: Shea Weber has drawn the ire of Red Wings fans everywhere as he makes it 3-2...at 15:16 of the 3rd, Paul Gaustad and Nick Spaling draw helpers...

This is my pet peeve in Round 1...two close games, late in the 3rd...which means I have to channel surf...at least this doesn't happen (as much) in the 2nd round...last night I was juggling two overtime games...

One feature I've really gotten used to this time of year...picture in picture...but that only works for 2 games at a time...if the PVR comes on to record something, forget it...

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9:57 PM: Game 1 between New Jersey and Florida from Sunrise has been a fairly close affair...no surprise...all of the games so far have been close, last night's Rangers-Senators game excluded...

The Devils won by a score of 3-2...

It was all New Jersey in the 1st period...6:31 in, Patrik Elias from Dainius Zubrus and Bryce Salvador...at 10:18, Florida's Shawn Matthias high sticked Andy Greene and got a four minute double minor penalty, and just as the power play was finishing, at 14:11, Zubrus made him pay...seconds later, at 14:56, Ryan Carter scored an unassisted marker, and all of a sudden it was 3-0, Devils...it stayed that way until 7:44 of the 2nd period when Sean Bergenheim, who was instrumental in Tampa Bay's run last spring, got his first to get Florida on the board...Stephen Gionta, Brian's brother (oddly enough also starts his career with New Jersey), took a tripping penalty at 15:23, and at 15:42 Kris Versteeg made it 3-2 with a power play goal...Martin Brodeur would shut the door after that...Florida made a late charge to try and tie it, but it wasn't going to happen...Devils lead the series 1-0...Brodeur's 100th career playoff win...the man just keeps rolling, doesn't he?

And we have a real barn burner in Pittsburgh...again, while Detroit is up 3-1 on Nashville, also in the 3rd...

In Nashville, Game 2 of their series against Detroit...Ian White carried the Red Wings' momentum into the 1st period, at 8:25 from Tomas Holmstrom and Drew Miller...then at 15:33 Cory Emmerton scored an unassisted goal...after 20 minutes, the Wings had a 2-0 lead...9:01 into the 2nd period, Andrei Kostitsyn scored his 1st of the playoffs, Alex Radulov and Nashville's first ever draft pick, David Legwand, assisted...seconds later, Detroit restored their 2 goal lead as the mule, Johan Franzen at 9:57, helped along by Brad Stuart and Pavel Datsyuk...

Still 3-1 with about 7 minutes left in the 3rd...

Heading back over to Pittsburgh...and it's been back and forth...and not unlike Game 1, Pittsburgh got the early lead...Sidney Crosby scored just 15 seconds into the 1st period, Chris Kunitz converted on a Nicklas Grossman hooking penalty at 9:27, Max Talbot scored a shorthanded goal at 12:44, and before the first intermission, 19:42, Paul Martin made it 3-1...Claude Giroux scored a power play and a shorthanded goal, Kunitz got his 2nd power play goal of the night, and Sean Couturier got his 1st career playoff goal, a buzzer beater with 3 seconds left, and after 40 minutes, it was tied 4-4...

Now in the 3rd, Couturier has another one, Tyler Kennedy has his 2nd of the playoffs, and Jaromir Jagr has just scored to make it 6-5, Philly...

8:54 to go in the 3rd...Penguins better be careful here...do they really want to go down 2-0 heading back down the Pennsylvania Turnpike?!

Vancouver-L.A. gets underway in about 10 minutes or so...

And now you're up to date...and I can take a breath...not to mention a sip...;)

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1:02 AM: And it's Martin Hanzal with the OT magic for Phoenix...Adrian Aucoin and Rusty Klesla assisted, 9:29 into the first overtime...Desert Dogs win Game 1...as already half of the opening games have gone to OT...

1 more series left to start - tomorrow night, Florida hosts New Jersey...and we have Game 2 from Pittsburgh, Vancouver and Nashville to cap off Friday the 13th...

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12:42 AM: Goal picks...uLAr - Chicago - Patrick Kane, Phoenix - Shane Doan...

I'll go with Toews for Chicago, Creme Brule for Phoenix...

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12:37 AM: It looked like Phoenix was going to hold on for the 2-1 win, but Chicago's Brent Seabrook tied it 2-2 with just 15 seconds left, at 19:45, Toews and Patrick Kane assisted, and we are going to OT for the 3rd time tonight...

 

April 12, 2012

11:51 PM: See this is why the officiating in this league has gone to hell in a handbasket...Kerry Fraser is retired...quiet astutely he pointed out that the Taylor Pyatt goal shouldn't have been allowed because just before the play the Coyotes had too many men on the ice...

What is that, three missed calls already in these playoffs!?!?  Two of them led to goals...

Of course, Toronto fans are still to this day reeling over the missed High Stick...ask any Leaf fan about the Gretzky High Stick and they know exactly what you mean...(or just Google "1993 Conference Finals")...well you know, you win some...you lose some...

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11:34 PM: ...and yet another former Senator finds the back of the net...Antoine Vermette blasts it by Corey Crawford...2-1 for the Desert Dogs...Raffi Torres with a nice setup there...

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11:28 PM: Tied 1-1 in Phoenix...Taylor Pyatt...welcome back...1st of the playoffs...about 3 1/2 left in the 2nd period...

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11:21 PM: I said it earlier, but it bears repeating...I'll bet the Ottawa Senators wish they still had Martin Havlat in their lineup...or for that matter...Chris Kelly...

3:34 in the 2nd OT, Havlat finds the twine, assists from Ryane Clowe and Logan Couture, and the 7th seeded Sharks take a bite out of the 2nd seeded Blues in Game 1...

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11:06 PM: Double OT about to get going in St. Louis...still 1-0 Chicago, now in the 2nd period...which game will end first!??

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10:32 PM: Chris Kelly the hero of Game 1 in Boston...just 1:18 into the 1st overtime, Benoit Pouliot and Brian Rolston assisted...and they literally brought the house down...a stantion came loose and one of the large pieces of plexiglas fell right down on David Krejci's head...he's had a rough night!!...I mean I know there's all this talk about concussions, but this is ridiculous...

Bruins now on a 3 game playoff winning streak dating back to Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final...

Holtby was named 2nd star, Thomas 3rd...

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10:17 PM: Goal picks...in St. Louis, I'll go with Kevin Shattenkirk for the Blues, Brent Burns for the Sharks...

In Boston...maybe I should pick one of the goalies to score on himself...

Seriously though, will go with Nick Backstrom for Washington, Rich Peverley for Boston...

uLAr has Jason Arnott for St. Louis, Patrick Marleau for San Jose; Milan Lucic for Boston, Alex Ovechkin for Washington...

Captain Toews already has Chicago up 1-0...

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10:09 PM: Still scoreless in Boston after regulation...we head to OT...

Tied 2-2 in St. Louis...Berglund got another one, and Andrew Desjardins tied it late...

We head to OT in 2 rinks...

Barrie takes a 3-1 series lead over Ottawa after winning 3-2...

And final score from MSG - Rangers 4, Senators 2...they won the 3rd period, but lost Game 1...

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9:34 PM: Tied 1-1 in St. Louis, Patrik Berglund's 1st of the playoffs...

I get a sense the Phoenix-Chicago game might be over before the Washington-Boston game is...it's still scoreless, in the 3rd...

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9:26 PM: Daniel Alfredsson foils the Lundqvist shutout bid...it's 4-1...Sens were the 3rd highest scoring 3rd period team in the NHL in the regular season...don't go away...

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9:21 PM: 67s-Colts...tied 2-2 in the 3rd...meanwhile, the Niagara Icedogs completed a sweep of the Brampton Batallion tonight, with a 3-1 win...that just went final...they will get the winner of the Barrie-Ottawa series in the OHL Eastern Conference final...

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9:12 PM: So we have four goaltenders working on shutouts...

First of all...not going well for Ottawa...Callahan, Gaborik, Boyle and now in the 3rd, Richards...4-0 Rags...Lundqvist perfect so far...

Still scoreless after 40 minutes at the TD Garden in Boston...Holtby and Thomas are in a real goalie duel...and tempers are starting to flare on the ice...

The Senators right about now probably wish they still had Martin Havlat...he has the lone goal for San Jose, and Antti Niemi so far is perfect...Sharks up 1-0, that is after 40 minutes...

10 PM start for Phoenix-Chicago...

I'll have an update on the 67s game too...in just a few minutes...

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8:27 PM: Nothing doing after 20 minutes in Boston or St. Louis...the Bruins, however, will carry 2:27 of a 4 minute double minor power play into the 2nd period...Washington's Jay Beagle somehow found it appropriate to cross check David Krejci in the mouth...

Still 1-0 Rangers, in the 2nd period...

And another Ottawa team, the 67s, are up 1-0 over Barrie after one period in Game 4 of their OHL second round series...been a tight series so far...after taking Game 1 by a 5-2 score, they lost a heartbreaker in Game 2 in double overtime, and lost Game 3 on the road by a score of 5-2...if the 67s can hang on for the win, series will be deadlocked 2-2 heading back to Ottawa for tomorrow night's Game 5 (I mean, teams in the NHL complain about scheduling, imagine if this game goes to OT, they have to be in Ottawa for tomorrow night...that's about a 5-6 hour drive from Barrie...depending on what highway the team bus takes...)

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7:50 PM: 1st period is in the books at Madison Square Garden...and it's the NY Rangers leading Ottawa 1-0...Ryan Callahan's first of the playoffs...

If you're looking for the Boston-Washington game - CBC has relegated it to CHEX, their Peterborough feed, or they're streaming it online at cbcsports.ca...nothing to report there yet, or in the STL-SJ game...odd, that one can be found on TSN which is simulcasting the CNBC feed...

We really gotta get NBC Sports Network up here in Canada...don't you think?!!?

BTW...Byron Bitz got 2 games...so he gets 2, 5, 10 and a game misconduct, and gets a 2 game suspension...Weber tries to make Zetterberg's face a permanent part of the glass, at the end of the game, and he gets a $2500 fine and a slap on the wrist!?

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5:30 PM: This shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone...The Calgary Flames organization announced today that Brent "Sutter and the organization have reached a mutual agreement to conclude coaching duties."  Assistant coach Dave Lowry will not be back next season, either...just the first in what should be a long line of changes this offseason and beyond for the Flames...

Tonight on "NHL Hour", Gary Bettman is expected to speak with Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen, as well as "Meet The Press" moderator David Gregory...catch it (in Canada) on Sirius CH 157 at 6PM, after HNIC Radio or after HNIC repeat at 10PM...or on Sirius XM CH 207...still waiting for Sirius XM Canada to align the channels so that we can actually get the hockey games...not sure what they're waiting for, they were given the green light to merge last June...getting a "free preview" for a week every couple of months just doesn't do it for me...

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3:27 PM: Jonathan Toews was expected to be a game time decision - it's been confirmed he will indeed play Game 1 between Chicago and Phoenix...here's hoping he actually gets to complete the game...

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3:07 PM: $2500 fine for Shea Weber...Byron Bitz  apparently faces a hearing, so a decision from Sheriff Shanahan should come soon...

Not too sure what sort of a message that sends the rest of the league...if this happened in the regular season, based on regular trends, Weber would have got at least a game...but keep in mind, the players don't get paid in the playoffs unless they win a series...

Evidently, as well, the NHL is not impressed over the missed offside call last night that led to Daniel Briere's first goal...my guess is that linesman will not be assigned any playoff games in the second round or finals...

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11:43 AM: So much for Darren Helm's return...after colliding with Alex Radulov in Game 1, he underwent emergency surgery to repair tendons in his right forearm, and is unfortunately out for the playoffs...I have a hard enough time with arthritis in my hands...ouch!!!

Waiting to hear if any supplementary discipline will be doled out to Shea Weber or Byron Bitz...

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1:24 AM: Speaking of Dustin Penner...how about a game winning goal at 16:46 of the 3rd period?...believe it...empty netter for Dustin Brown at 19:42...both goals assisted on by Jeff Carter and Mike Richards...

Kings win Game 1...4-2...and I know the fans in Vancouver will hang the loss on Luongo - but it wasn't his fault...he still made 35 saves despite the loss...blame the Canucks' undisciplined play for the most part...and, I don't know if it's just me, but the Kings can skate...the back and forth speed of that game was unbelievable...

And there you have it...first night is in the books...many more nights to come...as always, this thing will run into June...

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12:28 AM: And we're tied again...Alex Edler with a late period goal, 2-2...just 8 seconds left in the period on that one, 19:52 the time of the goal...Ryan Kesler has a 2 point night, 2nd assist of the night...Max Lapierre drew an assist on the play as well...

This one could go all night...L.A. more than doubling up Vancouver in the shots department...29-14 after two periods...

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12:25 AM: The parade to the penalty box continues...they're calling this one tight as well...

Bad penalty for Vancouver's Byron Bitz, got ejected for a boarding play on Kyle Clifford...ensuing five minute major power play, the former Vancouver Canuck, Willie Mitchell, got a well placed shot past Roberto Luongo...at 16:33 of the 2nd, it's a 2-1 Los Angeles lead...

Last minute of play before we hit 40 minutes...

 

April 11, 2012

11:15 PM: Kings get a 5 on 3, and Mike Richards ties it 1-1 at 13:31...seeing a lot of unsportsmanlike penalties so far...

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10:54 PM: For those of you who have been following with disgust the whole Trayvonne Martin story out of Florida, authorities there have finally arrested and charged George Zimmerman with second degree murder...if you're not familiar with the story, George, a former neighborhood watch member, claimed "self defense" after stalking Trayvonne all the way to a local convenience store and back, just because he "looked suspicious"...evidently upon further review, nobody's buying it...rightfully so...you tell me how wearing a hoody (which I wear all the time) and going to buy candy looks suspicious...if you ask me, should be 1st degree murder, but at least the man is behind bars...

Now back to Vancouver, where some fan has a sign that reads "Wanted, Dead or Alive, and has the L.A. Kings' logo...I wonder if whomever made that poster knows Bon Jovi is from New Jersey?

It's the Canucks with the early 1-0 lead...Alex Burrows at 4:17 assisted from Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler...

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10:45 PM: "Oh say does that Stan-ley Cup Ban-ner yet hang..."

Vancouver-Los Angeles, Game 1...underway...you know, I can't believe Dustin Penner is in the playoffs...again...what's even more surprising to me is he has a ring...

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10:42 PM: Another 2 man advantage, late, this time for Detroit...but they couldn't convert...bit of a broo-ha-ha at the buzzer as Shea Weber took out Zetterberg in the corner...doesn't look like anything will become of it...Smashville takes Game 1, 3-2 the final score...

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10:35 PM: Not so fast...Holmstrom makes it 3-2...

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10:25 PM: Well how do you like that?  Jakub Voracek, part of the Jeff Carter deal last summer, gets his 1st career NHL Playoff goal, and it's a big one, just 2:23 into the 1st overtime...4-3, Flyers come all the way back and they'll get at least a split out of Pittsburgh...wow!!

Looks like Nashville is going to cruise to a Game 1 victory, they've given themselves a little insurance...they have given Gabriel Bourque the 2-1 goal, and he has 2 on the night, 3-1 for the mustard colored beasts...

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10:19 PM: I was right...

Last year, San Jose-Los Angeles Game 1 went to OT, as did Washington-NY Rangers...in 2010, Vancouver-Los Angeles went to OT, as did Montreal-Washington...all of them were done quick...

3rd straight year we go to OT on the 1st night...and if the trend continues, so will the Vancouver game...

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10:12 PM: OK...so we do indeed have OT at the Consol for Game 1...I'm going to check into this, but I believe this is the 3rd straight year we have OT on opening night...it's at least 2nd straight year, this much I'm certain of...

Goal picks: I've got Scott Hartnell for Philadelphia or Evgeni Malkin for Pittsburgh...uLAr has Briere with the hat trick or James Neal for the Pitts...

Nashville is clinging on to the 2-1 lead in the 3rd...about 12 minutes to go there...

I wonder if Hartnell gets the goal if he'll tell Crosby to "suck it"?!

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9:57 PM: I can't believe we might have overtime again on the first night, but Philadelphia has tied the game 3-3...Brayden Schenn is having himself a game...assisted on Briere's 1st goal, then assisted on another one from Briere to make it 3-2...then tied it on just the Flyers' first power play of the game...1st career NHL Playoff goal...we have about 4 minutes left in the 3rd period...Briere's 2nd goal at 9:17, went right through Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury...Schenn's goal at 12:23, assists from Hartnell and Jagr...the ageless wonder continues to get points...

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9:39 PM: Nashville restores the 1 goal lead (wonder how many times I'll say that in this series)...2-1, they've given it to Matt Halischuk from Gabriel Bourque, but that could be reversed upon further review...12:29 of the second period the time of the goal...they're now at the 40 minute intermission...

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9:27 PM: 3rd period just getting started in Pittsburgh with the Pens still up 3-1...in the regular season, Philly was a lot like Ottawa - they came from behind, a lot...

Detroit has tied Nashville 1-1...2008 Conn Smythe winner Henrik Zetterberg, on a power play, unassisted, 2:29 into the 2nd period...still about 7 minutes left in the 2nd there...

So far, the refs are calling a tight game in Nashville, while in Pittsburgh, seems like they don't know what an offside or an icing is...they're letting them play...can't wait to see how they call it in Vancouver...you'll probably know by whichever bench you hear more whining from...

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8:52 PM: Bryzgalov is still the guy in goal for Philadelphia, for now...the game has settled down a bit, and Danny Briere, although way offside, has the Flyers on the board, it's 3-1...

1-0, Nashville, thanks to the big man they got at the deadline - Paul Gaustad...Red Wings killed off a 5 on 3 late in the 1st to preserve the one goal game...Gaustad from Yip and Boullion Cube...at 6:59...

Darren Helm has left the game after colliding with Alex Radulov...the "Prodigal Son", as they're referring to him, has taken a lot of abuse in his first NHL playoff game in some time...

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8:18 PM: Pascal Dupuis got one in the final 30 seconds of period one, and the Philadelphia Flyers will be happy to get to the dressing room...

3-0, Penguins...not sure if Bryzgalov will be back tonight...

About 5 minutes into Nashville-Detroit...nothing to report yet...

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7:55 PM: First goal of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, scored by #87 in black, playing his first playoff game in almost 2 years...Sidney Crosby...

The game is not even 10 minutes old yet, and Tyler Kennedy has another one...Ilya Bryzgalov just got the "Bronx Cheer" for actually making a save...

Biggest thing I've noticed, in the 9 or so minutes...Jaromir Jagr, Daniel Briere, and others, they can't compete with the speed of Pittsburgh...all Jagr could do was watch Kennedy go in on goal and score...

2-0, Pens...and they've got the crowd behind them...there's even somebody dressed up as a bear (Bryzgalov said he wasn't afraid of playing in the playoffs, he was more afraid of a bear in the forest...)...

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7:13 PM: T-minus about 20 minutes, or so...haven't heard any reports of a pre-game warmup brawl out of Pittsburgh...yet...

Couple more player notes - Boston's Nathan Horton will not play in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as he has been shut down...the team rallied around him last spring when he took "the hit", and quite frankly, hasn't been the same since...tried to come back a couple of times, to no avail...maybe it's just as well, rest up and be ready for next year...but it has to be killing him having to watch in the press box with his team having a good chance to repeat...

Detroit's Darren Helm, on the other hand, is expected to play Game 1, much to the delight of one Mike Babcock...

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3:22 PM: Just a few more hours!!!

Channel surfing won't be too bad tonight...just two games on early, and they start a half hour apart - Philly-Pitts gets going at 7:30, while Smashville gets going at 8...then Vancouver-L.A. is a 10:30 start...

Tomorrow night, however - 3 games in the 7:00 or 7:30 slot...and then one late game...even St. Louis is a 7:30 start instead of the usual 8 or 8:30...

Couple of Game 1 player notes - no Daniel Sedin for Vancouver, and Jaroslav Halak gets the first start for the Blues...

EA Sports did their usual simulations for Round 1...and it went like this - Rangers in 5, Bruins in 4, Devils in 7, Penguins in 7, Canucks in 6, Blues in 6, Blackhawks in 5 (?!?!), Predators in 7...

Everyone, and even the computer, seems to agree that 4-5 matchup in both conferences will go the distance...

What I find even more surprising than EA picking Chicago over Phoenix in just 5 games, is uLAr picked the Hawks to come out of the West...but, like me, he seems to agree that Boston will become the 1st team since Detroit of 1997 and 1998 to repeat...

I just find it odd that not too many of the so called "experts" are picking them, citing last year's run will have tired them down, yet, they don't seem to feel the same way about Vancouver (and I've watched just about all the preview shows)...anyway, we'll find out who's right in the coming weeks...

The late nights commence...better check the batteries in the remote...

 

April 10, 2012

8:24 PM: Draft Lottery...2012...dum, da-dum, dum...

Well won't this just add injury to insult, or so much for "Fail For Nail"...the Columbus Blue Jackets had the best chance of any of the 5 worst teams in the standings to win the Draft Lottery, with a fraction of a percentage better than 48% - and they lost...

The envelope, please...

#5...Toronto

#4...NY Islanders...

#3...Montreal...

#2...Columbus...

Which means for the 3rd straight year - Edmonton gets the #1 pick...wow!!!  I don't know if they will or even if they should go for Yakopov, but the option is theirs...defense...defense...Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips is ranked #3 overall...not to be confused with Ryan Whitney...yeah, maybe they need to stop drafting players named Ryan...getting a little confusing...

OK...now bring on the Playoffs already!!!

 

April 8, 2012

10:10 PM: Alright...I think I just confused myself even more by tuning into Sportsnet's playoff preview...I mean, come on - John Garrett picks Vancouver every year, as Nick Kypreos astutely pointed out...how credible can the predictions really be...besides, the fact of the matter is - nobody really knows what's going to happen, do they?

No surprise that Denis Potvin was the only member of the panel to pick Ottawa over the Rangers...yeah, good luck with that...you think maybe he's still a little miffed over the "Potvin Sucks!" chants at MSG!?

OK...so here I go...for better or for worse...my picks for Round 1...

Eastern Conference

NY Rangers vs Ottawa Senators: Rangers in 7...Sens will give them all they can handle, but Brad Richards has been there before and won it all...plus, Henrik Lundqvist's time is now...as much as I hope he comes back for another run, I can't help but think this will be Alfie's last stand...there may be a banner raising ceremony next season after all...one with the #11 on it...

Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals: Bruins in 5...interesting how everybody seems to think Vancouver can make it back to the finals, but not Boston...I don't get it...as for Washington, congratulations on making it, but you made it by the skin of your teeth...and your top defenseman and goalies are banged up...no contest against Timmy Thomas and Big Z...none...

Florida Panthers vs New Jersey Devils: Devils in 6(-6-6)...Welcome back to the dance, Florida, but, um, Jose Theodore is going to beat Martin Brodeur?!  Not on your life...will be interesting if they pit Clemmensen up against the guy he used to backup...but that would actually make sense, wouldn't it?  Not in a 7 game series...gotta feel good for Stephen Weiss, first ever trip to the playoffs for him...

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers: Penguins in 7...a coin toss, really, but at the end of the day I have no faith in Ilya Bryzgalov...and perhaps I'm being generous in giving the Flyers 7 games...but it's going to be a lot of fun no matter what, right!?

Western Conference

Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings: Canucks in 7...nothing would give me more pleasure than to see the Kings pull off the upset here, but experience, experience, experience...and if Luongo craps the bed, "Corey Snyder" is no slouch...;)...

St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks: Blues in 5...Sharks are hot coming in, but the Blues have been hot all year...plus, we've seen the Halak show before...San Jose can't score enough, despite having the talent to do it...too many disappearing acts on that team...X factor could be goaltender Niemi, but he was only "good enough" in Chicago's Stanley Cup run of 2010, he didn't have to be great...

Phoenix Coyotes vs Chicago Blackhawks: Coyotes in 6...first division title ever for the Desert Dogs, but what I'm most impressed is they're coming in with a hot goalie...Hawks are coming in with questionable goaltending and a question mark on their team captain...does Jonathan Toews play...does Mr. Saviour, Dave Bolland, play?  As for Ray Whitney, getting his 1,000th regular season point was just a warmup...and, how hungry is Shane Doan?  Like Nashville last year, getting in isn't enough...2nd round or bust for Phoenix...

Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings: Predators in 7...Wings are too banged up, but still good enough to give Nashville a scare in Round 1...

Eastern Conference Champion: Boston Bruins

Eastern Conference Dark Horse: Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference Champion: Vancouver Canucks

Western Conference Dark Horse: Nashville Predators

Stanley Cup Champion: Boston Bruins

Conn Smythe Winner: If the Bruins are to repeat, especially if they go up against Vancouver again, it'll have to be Tim Thomas that guides them, again...

I know I'm basically predicting a repeat of last year, but like I always say, don't ever, ever count out the defending champions...what's scary is too many so called prognosticators are...

 

 

April 7, 2012

1:09 AM: So, right down to the last game to decide the matchups...again...just minutes ago, San Jose beat Los Angeles 3-2 in OT to clinch 7th...the Kings get 8th...Phoenix won their game 4-1...so they clinch the Pacific and 3rd seed in the West...

Vancouver clinches their 2nd straight President's Trophy with a 3-0 win against Edmonton...

I think Dan Boyle may have just won me my hockey pool...2 goals including the OT winner...

And the 2012 playoffs go like this:

East:

#1 NY Rangers vs #8 Ottawa

#2 Boston vs #7 Washington

#3 Florida vs #6 New Jersey

#4 Pittsburgh vs #5 Philadelphia

West:

#1 Vancouver vs #8 Los Angeles

#2 St. Louis vs #7 San Jose

#3 Phoenix vs #6 Chicago

#4 Nashville vs #5 Detroit

If you're looking for a dark horse in either conference, look no further than the 4-5 matchup...or maybe even the #6 seeds...either one...of course, don't forget, that 7th-2nd matchup has, for whatever reason, always been good for an upset...a lot of people I talked to Thursday, too, seemed to think Ottawa matches up better against the Rangers than they do against the Bruins...problem is, if you want a berth in the finals, it's a pretty safe bet you'll have to get by both teams...

Maybe it's just me, but didn't Florida play New Jersey the last time they were actually in the playoffs?

Anyway...it's been a great day of hockey...I caught portions of every game...and I'll have my picks and thoughts up either tomorrow night or Monday...although, still, I have no clue who to pick...

Just remember, when Wednesday gets here, it's a whole new ballgame...everybody is 0-0...those that are participating, that is...

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9:20 PM: Up to the minute - Ottawa will face the NY Rangers in round 1, as Washington went into MSG and beat them 4-1, they vault into 7th, and unless Carolina scores 4 unanswered goals in the 3rd against Florida, they will stay there...looking very likely Washington will get Boston, and New Jersey will get Florida...pending a complete and total meltdown in the 3rd...I've seen Carolina do it before, but in a Game 7 situation...what do they have to play for aside from pride?  3-0, Cats lead after 40...

Steven Stamkos does indeed get to 60 goals...it's 3-2 Tampa leading Winnipeg late in that one...fans in Winnipeg were on their feet to salute the special milestone...as Dean Brown put it, "that's how you know you're in a real hockey market"...

Still plenty to be decided in the West...last glance had Phoenix up on Minnesota...and the Rangers will have to wait for the outcome of Vancouver-Edmonton to learn if they will win the President's Trophy or not...Canucks would have to win it outright in points...if the Oilers win in regulation, the Rangers win it...

And of course, there's still the Pacific Division and Conference seeding to be decided...

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3:27 PM: Dear Chicago Blackhawks, we regret to inform you that the Detroit Red Wings have already punched their ticket to the 1st round against us.  Perhaps we'll meet down the road.  Sincerely Yours, The Nashville Predators...

Yes, Detroit came back to tie the game, 2-2, a late goal from Pavel Datsyuk and the game is now in OT...regardless of what happens, the Hawks cannot catch the Wings...and quite frankly, Detroit may have done Chicago a favor...does anybody really want to face Nashville?

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2:32 PM: Dear Nashville Predators, we can hardly wait to travel to the Bridgestone Arena next week for the start of the 1st round.  Please have the coffee ready, and make sure the fans are loud.  See you soon - With love - The Chicago Blackhawks...

Hawks are up 2-0 on Detroit after 40 minutes - if they win, they clinch 5th and will draw the Preds, Detroit will finish in 6th and will await the winner of the Pacific Division...it's not possible they could draw Phoenix again, is it?!  What's even more unbelievable - Detroit would finish with 101 points and only finish 6th in West?!?

Ottawa-New Jersey gets underway in about a half hour...

Dear Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, having a great time, wish you were here...Vancouver will undoubtedly send a similar post card to the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets...

A great report out today about Winnipeg - the Jets exceeded all expectations at the gate this season, and are actually among the NHL's richest teams...so they will contribute to rather than be a beneficiary of revenue sharing...I guess when you sell out all of your home games for 5 years, you can't help but be among the league leaders in revenue...while Mark Chipman was ecstatic about the news, he still feels the season didn't meet expectations since he had expected the Jets to make it to the post season...wonder how he'd feel if they were actually aligned in the right conference?  I won't take anything away from Detroit, or anybody else in the playoffs for that matter, so if you move Winnipeg over to the Western Conference and move Columbus over to the East, Winnipeg would sit in 12th, rather than 10th, even if they win their final game tonight...exactly...not even close...and never mind the fact they played the bulk of their games against the Eastern Conference, including 24 games against the Southeast Division...

 

April 6, 2012

10:16 PM: Coyotes-Blues - only game on the NHL Schedule tonight - and it was a nasty one...both teams sending a message to each other that they won't back down easily, especially if they happen to face each other in the first round...took about 20 minutes to play the final 5...counted at least 3 fights...including Raffi Torres getting an instigator penalty, with just seconds above the 5 minute mark...looks like he timed that one perfectly...

It was the Mike Smith show again, but you'd never say it by the score - no, he didn't post his 4th straight shutout, but pretty close to it...4-1, Coyotes win and bark at the full moon out there tonight on this Good Friday...if they can win again tomorrow against Minnesota, they win the Pacific and get Chicago...otherwise it's either St. Louis or San Jose in Round 1...not sure if anybody would want to face Phoenix right now, Smith is simply sizzling in net...

OHL Playoffs, Round 2 - Ottawa 67s vs Barrie Colts, Game 1...it was Ottawa 5, Mark Scheifele 1...everyday he's Schiefeling...67s draw 1st blood...the usual suspects, Tyler Toffoli with 1G, Shane Prince with 2...I wonder how much the Ottawa Senators wish he was available to play for them next week...ditto for the Los Angeles Kings with Toffoli...

Get ready for Super Saturday...everybody in action...playoffs get underway Wednesday...

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1:41 AM: And "Little Joe" gets it in the shootout...both teams now tied in points with 94, but Los Angeles still holds the Pacific Division lead and Western Conference 3rd seed due to that new Shootout/Regulation wins tiebreaker...despite San Jose having more overall wins, Los Angeles has more regulation wins...still not sure how I feel about that one...a win is a win...if you're not going to count shootout goals or shootout wins, why not just go back to ties?

Anyway...the division could come down to Saturday night...they'll hook up again, back at the Shark Tank...

Phoenix has the only game on the sched tomorrow night, they're in St. Louis...all they have to do is win their last two games, and it won't matter what San Jose-Los Angeles does...

So really, now, it's just battles for position...

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1:18 AM: 5-5 tie between the Sharks and Kings...they're headed to OT...a win for the Sharks and they will tie for 1st in the division...a week ago it looked like they might not even make the playoffs...

Gee, I feel like they've already started...

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12:55 AM: Well, after what must have been a long night for a few teams, we got a better idea of who will make the round of 16...first of all - a heartbreaker for Buffalo in Philadelphia - they started out leading 1-0, but as the broadcaster said in the highlights - it wasn't meant to be...Flyers rallied for a 2-1 win...so the Sabres needed help from Florida over Washington...didn't happen - Capitals win 4-2...so they clinch at least 8th, and Buffalo - you're out...

Washington still holds a tiebreaker on Florida - should the Panthers lose their next game and should Washington win their next game, both in regulation time - Washington will clinch the Southeast...Florida needs just a single point to keep the 3rd seed...they play at home against Carolina on Saturday, as for Washington, they visit New York, and regardless of the outcome, better make preparations to stay there all week, just in case...

In the East, with the exception of Toronto-Tampa Bay, where Steven Stamkos got his 59th, and Pittsburgh-NY Rangers, where the Penguins clinched 4th spot with a 5-2 win, the rest of the games were meaningless...

Boston, minus 4 of their top guns, still managed to come into Ottawa and win...3-1 the final...I got a different perspective of the game, got to sit up in the upper 400s, where the big suites are...now I know how the broadcasters feel...not too bad a view, really...think of the old school overhead view from EA Sports NHL games, back in the Sega days...

And since I may not ever get up there again, snapped pictures of these wall hangers...taken back around this time back in '99...Wayne's last game in Canada, just before announcing his retirement...

  

In the West, only two games meaning anything was Nashville-Dallas, and the huge one - San Jose-Los Angeles...Dallas is officially out after getting shut out 2-0...Sharks are up 5-4 on the Kings...late in the 3rd...

 

April 4, 2012

10:23 PM: Just 2 games on the docket tonight...now there are exactly 30 games left on the schedule, everybody plays twice...14 tomorrow, 1 Friday, and all 30 teams in action Saturday...

Back to last night for a second...Nashville reached the 100 point plateau with a 2-1 shootout win over Minnesota...already talked about San Jose's 5-2 win over Dallas...Anaheim and Vancouver were back and forth, Canucks came from behind tow in 5-4 in a shootout...Cory Schneider got the win after coming on in relief of Roberto Luongo...and Mike Smith not only kept his shutout streak alive as Phoenix beat Columbus 2-0, he also faced 54 shots...setting a record for most shots ever faced in a regular season game...you trying to tell me the Blue Jackets got 54 freaking shots on goal?!!?  Apparently they had 7 power plays...Smith has posted a shutout in three straight games now...

Tonight, the Bolts were in Montreal to face the Habs in a meaningless game - and Steven Stamkos, looking for goals 59 and 60, was kept off the scoresheet...Habs won 5-2...

Detroit and St. Louis were jockeying for position tonight...and it was the Red Wings coming through, 3-2 in a shootout...the Blues were up 2-0 in that one...then "The Mule" took over...

Lots of action tomorrow night...I'll be at Scotiabank Place to catch what I thought would be a good preview of Round 1...unfortunately it seems Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron and Johnny Boychuk aren't even making the trip - the Bruins have called up a few guys from Providence to give some of their top guys a much deserved rest, namely Lane MacDermid and Anton Khudobin, who is expected to get the start in net...Marty Turco will be the backup...Torey Krug, called up for Tuesday's game against Pittsburgh, is expected to be in the lineup again as well...it's still hard to fathom that the Senators are only 6 points shy of the defending Stanley Cup Champs, and that spread could be only 2 points by the time all is done...and since it'll be that dreaded 2 vs 7 matchup, you never know what to expect...and how much do you think Daniel Alfredsson will want ultimate revenge for the All Star Game?...it's on, boys...

 

April 3, 2012

11:43 PM: San Jose wins their game in Dallas, 5-2...five different goal scorers for the Sharks, including Logan Couture with his 31st...they temporarily move into 7th, pending the result of the Phoenix game - they were leading 2-0 - a win for the Coyotes and they move back into 7th, and the spread between 8th and 9th is 3 points...it's not looking good for Dallas...there were reports of tornados today in the Dallas-Fort Worth area...an omen, perhaps?...Colorado still for the moment mathematically alive, but barely...assuming Phoenix wins, all San Jose would need is a point to clinch a spot...now whether that spot is 3rd, 7th or 8th, will depend on their home and home against L.A....

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10:33 PM: Jason Spezza made a late game of it with his 33rd, but Carolina held on for the 2-1 win...that should officially clinch 6th for New Jersey...Ottawa could fall to 8th, but only if they lose their final games and if Washington wins their final two games...otherwise, bring on Boston...

Sharks are still holding on to that 3-2 lead over the Stars...tied 1-1 between Anaheim and Vancouver, and still tied 1-1 between Nashville and Minnesota...

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10:07 PM: Wow!!!  Do you believe in miracles?  Well they sure do in Buffalo!!

Leafs were home and cool, twice...they were up 5-3 in the 3rd, but you just had a sense the Sabres were going to make a game of it...they always do, especially in their home rink...the fine young defenseman Alex Sulzer got one in off of Ben Scrivens' right pad, it went to video review and was ruled a good goal...then a late scramble saw Matt Lombardi land on the puck in the crease - the refs let it go, then Jordan Leopold jabbed away and got it to go...5-5...we needed OT...and if fans weren't entirely on Dion Phaneuf, they will be now - he deflected a puck over the glass, takes the Delay of Game penalty...and the Sabres made him pay...Derek Roy, who has been a little cold of late, came to life with a goal in the 3rd to tie the game 3-3, and picked up the garbage in OT for the 6-5 Buffalo win...88 points for Washington...88 points for Buffalo...and they're going crazy on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls...as for Toronto color commentator Greg Millen, I'm sure he's eating his words right about now...when Toronto went up 5-3 he was too fast to write the Sabres off...but also was quick to point out Derek Roy was a guy to watch...and he was...

As for Toronto...this should be the icing on the cake...and it's a very dry and tasteless one...

Somehow Winnipeg and Florida are tied 4-4 and are in OT?   Panthers could clinch the Southeast with a win...

Rangers clinch the Atlantic, as well as top seed in the Eastern Conference with a 5-3 win over Philadelphia, same score for Pittsburgh over Boston...and New Jersey wins 3-1 over the Islanders...Ottawa is down 2-0 against Carolina...so much for the Senators catching 6th...they do play the Devils on Saturday, but they would have needed to win their final three games, including tonight...

And the Jets take it...5-4...so Florida needs a single point to clinch the Southeast, not to mention a playoff spot...

San Jose just went up 3-2 on Dallas...late in the 2nd...Minnesota and Nashville are tied 1-1...Ducks-Canucks and Blue Jackets-Coyotes are just about to get underway...

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8:40 PM: Buffalo is not making life easy for themselves...they allowed Toronto to go up 3-0 before the game was even 20 minutes old, but they've clawed their way back, it's 3-2 in the 2nd...

And is it just me, or is Philadelphia's achilles heel once again going to be their goaltending!?  Ilya "I can't stop the puck" Bryzgalov is having another night to forget...it was 4-0, but now it's a 4-1 Rangers lead...to put this in perspective, the Rangers only have 17 shots on goal...

Pens-Bruins, deadlocked 2-2...Canes just went up 1-0 on the Sens...and the Cats are up 3-0 on the Jets...

More to come...

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6:56 PM: And the road to the Memorial Cup continues...2nd round matchups in the OHL, WHL and QMJHL were announced today...in the OHL, Game 1 of all 4 series gets going Friday night - Saginaw goes against London, Brampton against Niagara, Barrie against Ottawa, and Kitchener against Plymouth...so the 67s get to contend with Winnipeg prospect Mark Scheifele...Leaf fans will also recognize Brendan Bell...the Colts will rely heavily on German goaltender Mathias Niederberger...I think I still give Petr Mrazek the edge in that one...we'll see...Ottawa gets Sportsnet's "Friday Night Hockey" treatment for the second week in a row...

In the WHL, it'll be a series fit for a King, as the Brandon Wheat Kings go up against the Edmonton Oil Kings...Medicine Hat gets Moose Jaw, Kamloops gets Portland, and Spokane gets Tri-City...

In the Q - all but one of the first round series ended in a sweep...unfortunately, the Gatineau Olympiques were one of the teams swept...Chicoutimi needed 6 games to eliminate Acadie-Bathurst...they will now face the Memorial Cup hosts in Shawinigan, so regardless of how that series ends, Shawinigan will play in May...heavily favored Halifax gets Quebec - Remparts head coach Patrick Roy along with son Frederick get to contend with Nathan MacKinnon, who is being touted as the next Crosby - oddly enough, MacKinnon was drafted by the Remparts but wanted to be closer to home, so was traded to Halifax...careful what you wish for...Frederick was just awarded the Guy Carbonneau trophy as the QMJHL's best defensive forward...this will be the closest you'll get to a Habs-Nordiques rivalry until the NHL returns there...rounding out the round of 8, Rimouski plays Blainville-Boisbriand, and Saint John gets Baie-Comeau...

Just like in the NHL, it's wide open in all three leagues in the CHL...anybody can take it, as evidenced by a close Belleville-Ottawa series...

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10:42 AM: Last night, the Los Angeles Kings did themselves a huge favor in the playoff race - they won...2-0 shutout against Edmonton...the win solidifies their hold on 1st in the Pacific and the 3rd overall seed in the West, albeit, only by 2 points now instead of 1...if they can hang on to that seed, they won't have to travel during the first two games of the playoffs, and the furthest they'll have to travel this week will be San Jose...Edmonton didn't make it easy on them, though, despite only getting 19 total shots on goal...the game was scoreless until the 3rd period when Slava Voynov broke through with his 8th, and then later on Dwight King put the icing on the cake with his 5th...not players you would expect to produce in a game of this magnitude, but they stepped it up in Jeff Carter's absence...Jonathan Quick made 19 saves for his 10th shutout of the season...the Kings peppered Dubnyk with 37 shots, 2 of them found the twine...

Tonight, Buffalo will try to take advantage of Washington's loss last night to Tampa Bay, they finish a home and home against Toronto, back in their home barn...needless to say, they've gotta have that one...doesn't matter if it's regulation or in OT/SO, but they need 2 points...otherwise, they better hope and pray Washington tanks their last two games...and even then, they would need to win their final 2 games...better if they can win all 3 of their remaining games, then let the chips fall...

And I just want to preface this next little blurb by saying typically I have the utmost respect for women, but I have to say, the example I'm about to give will have to work really hard to earn it - as they say, actions speak louder than words...except in the Twitter-verse...

You know, this Twitter is a dangerous thing - years before the Internet was all the rage, the only way a player could get themselves in the news was either saying the wrong thing to the papers or on camera...now, with Social Networking, even the not-so-better halves are even getting in on it...now I know boys will be boys and girls will be girls...and I'm all for a good catfight...but tell me if this isn't going too far - Brittany Carnegie, Milan Lucic's girlfriend, put it out there on Twitter for all to see that "Corey Snyder"'s girlfriend, who was unnamed in the report, "fingered me and told me off about my Bruins hat"...evidently Cory's girl made a direct comment to Brittany about wearing a Boston hat while the two were having dinner in a Vancouver restaurant...like, so what, happens to me all the time when I show up to an Ottawa-Edmonton game with my Oilers' gear on...get over it...so not only did she misspell Cory Schneider's name, she referred to him as the "Canucks' loser backup"...and she didn't stop there (not to mention aside from her spelling she evidently doesn't appear to know proper punctuation, but then again, it's Twitter)..."FYI I was at the game and around Vancouver and she was the ONLY one with a problem people actually were VERY kind !  She only had a problem !"..."Corey Snyder control your broad because she is straight classless, rude and acts like a trucker !!"..."I guess haters are guna hate but keep your girl in line...Vancouver is my home !"...

Now I'll tell you what, Cory Schneider's girlfriend is showing a lot more class by not even responding to what we like to refer to up here in Canada as "Trailer Trash" or "potty mouth", or at least as far as I've been able to find out, she hasn't responded - she doesn't have to, an entire continent full of Canucks and Bruins fans have already taken the liberty, and some of the responses I won't repeat here...as one blogger put it - "Young girl got mad on Twitter about something silly.  Does it deserve to be made fun of?  Yep.  Does she deserve to be called the names that Canuck fans are calling her?  Nope.  Never."

No disrespect to Milan Lucic or his girlfriend, or women in general, but really - is it any wonder Sean Avery made his "sloppy seconds" comment a few years ago?  If this one individual's Tweets is any reflection whatsoever on the character of some of the girls the players attract?!  One report I read shows a picture of Brittany dressed in a sparkly dress, beside the Stanley Cup while she puckers up beside the mug...I'm not really sure what the intent was there, but some might interpret it the wrong way...and yet another, taken last August, of Milan Lucic in Vancouver holding the Stanley Cup above his head, and Brittany is hugging him and giving him a kiss on the cheek...see, that's cool...don't go on Twitter talking trash...OK?!  I mean, who knows - the Bruins and Canucks could meet again and the result this time could be way different...a lot has to happen first, but a definite possibility...and I'll give the Canucks this - regardless of what happens this year - there's been somewhat of a maturation that's taken place this year...for the most part, they've kept their emotions in check, they've stopped whining about things that happen in a game and their brass has stopped ranting about the referees, etc...time will tell, but it's the old adage - learning how to lose before learning how to win...still doesn't mean I'm jumping on the Canucks' bandwagon anytime soon, though...

Well, I will say this - at least for once the focus was not on Roberto Luongo...and I'll say one other thing - I'm still reeling over and dying to hear Ben Eager's side of the story about the girl who flashed him in the penalty box during last year's Vancouver-San Jose series...but unless Eager writes a book someday, we'll never hear more about it...maybe, in a way, that's a good thing...

Now, I have a question for Brittany - if and when the Bruins get eliminated from the playoffs, will you still be loyal to Lucic?  Just wondering...

Check this out, it's the blog I referred to before: Catfight?

 

 

 

April 2, 2012

11:14 PM: Somehow I thought Ales Hemsky left the last game against Anaheim...but he is back in action tonight...maybe I had it confused with the announcment of Taylor Hall's pending shoulder surgery, which is tomorrow, he'll be out of action 5-6 mths...just enough time to get back for training camp...

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9:42 PM: ...or not...Steven Stamkos gets goals 57 and 58 on the season, the latter into an empty net with 1 second remaining...the Capitals don't like it, but it's a 4-2 Tampa Bay win and it's in the books - Washington has 2 games left, Buffalo has 3...Washington still holds the tiebreaker...you have to kind of feel for Stamkos - he could end up with 60 or more goals on the season, and no playoffs...must be especially disappointing when you consider how far the Bolts got last spring...

Kentucky-Kansas, NCAA March Madness final - Kentucky is running away with it early...looks like Ovechkin might actually win something this year - his March Madness bracket...

No Jeff Carter tonight for L.A. - "deep ankle bruise" with no structural damage is the injury assessment...

Thanks to the shenanigans that went on yesterday between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, not only is Danny Briere day to day with a bruised back, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is $10,000 thinner in his wallet, while Pittsburgh assistant coach Tony Granato loses $2,500...all Pierre McGuire could do is watch...

1 game suspension for Detroit's Kyle Quincey for his charging play on Florida's Tomas Kopecky...

And the concussion epidemic continues...and appears to be now getting more goalies than ever...Toronto's James Reimer is unlikely to return this season, and now Montreal's Carey Price also is expected to miss the end of the season, as he too suffers the effects of a concussion...

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9:29 PM: Game 6 between the Ottawa 67s and Belleville Bulls was a spirited affair - the Bulls gave it their all, but Ottawa emerges with the 2-1 victory - Tyler Toffoli, the L.A. Kings' prospect, with both goals for the 67s...if you get a chance to see any highlights - check out the fight in the 3rd period between Belleville's Joseph Cramarossa and Ottawa's Tyler Graovac...it was a good one...the commentators were calling it a potential fight of the year candidate...can't comment as I didn't see too many Junior games this year...

P.K. Subban was in attendance watching brothers Jordan and Malcolm...interesting to get the Belleville broadcasting perspective...they're saying Malcolm may get an invite to Team Canada's Junior squad next year...while Jordan missed scoring the tying goal late in the game, by a hair...nobody gave Belleville a fighting chance against the #2 seeded 67s, but give them credit, they were in every game...

So Ottawa moves on to Round 2 - as of yet their opponent is unknown...the only series to finish in a sweep was London and Windsor, the other series are still going on...Brampton or Toronto St. Mikes are safe bets...

Tampa has a 2-1 lead on the Washington Capitals, late in the 3rd, much to the delight of the Buffalo Sabres, I'm sure...

Edmonton can play spoiler at 10:30 as they invade the Staples Centre...

Capitals have tied it up...2-2...smells like OT...

 

April 1, 2012

11:49 PM: So, Ottawa did win today - 5-1...and they're in...probably will finish in that 7th seed, but who knows...regardless, the East is wide open, regardless of where everybody ends up...the game on Thursday against Boston is less meaningful now - the Bruins clinched the Northeast today with their win over the NY Rangers...if nothing else, it'll serve as a playoff preview as it'll most likely be Boston-Ottawa in the 1st round...

For the 8th seed in the East, it's up to Buffalo and Washington...who wants it?  Have to give a slight edge to Washington, because even if Buffalo wins all three of their final games, the Capitals will win the tiebreaker if it comes to that...they even hold the edge in the overtime loss tiebreaker...

Phoenix, San Jose, Dallas, Colorado...those four are still duking it out for the two final spots in the West...Colorado only has 2 games left, though...Thursday against Columbus, Saturday against Nashville...win them both and they will finish with 92 points...still might not be enough...even worse news for Colorado and one of the other four teams - San Jose and Dallas go head to head Tuesday night - then the Sharks complete the season in a home and home against L.A....that division still has to be decided...2 points separate Los Angeles from Dallas...all three separated from each other by a single point...and Dallas sits outside of the playoffs...unbelievable...

Most mind boggling - the Northwest Division, usually the tightest division in the NHL, may only have one team make the playoffs (Vancouver)...Colorado sits in 2nd and may fall short (by a long shot mind you, a 19 point spread between the Avs and Canucks...21 points separate Vancouver from Calgary)...BTW, just a side note - anybody who still isn't sold on Roberto Luongo - talk to me after Vancouver's first two playoff games...the Canucks must be relieved that they aren't getting Chicago again this year...at least not for Round 1 anyway...

Only highlights I've seen so far today was Pittsburgh-Philadelphia...I went to Watertown and saw the highlights on a TV Screen, right about where the brawl broke out...they still have one more game against each other, and looks like they will meet in Round 1...

Still a lot can happen...aside from the first round, this is the best week of the entire season...even when we do know who plays who, I have absolutely no clue who to pick...it'll be between the Rangers and Pittsburgh for the Eastern Conference, but even then, you can't count out the defending champs...my dark horse will be between Philadelphia and Ottawa...but the Flyers burned me last year, no thanks to Tampa Bay, yet, they were my dark horse, and almost did it...if Buffalo somehow manages to sneak in, they've been playing playoff hockey since the All Star Break, so they'd have to get consideration too...I have no faith in Washington, period...no way they get by the Rangers again...

Yup...no clue who to pick...the West, forget about it...

Tomorrow night, only two NHL Games - Washington is in Tampa Bay, and Edmonton takes their Teemu show to Los Angeles...tonight, it was Teemu Selanne for Anaheim, Teemu Hartikainen for Edmonton...Oil edged the Ducks 2-1...now they'll look to make life miserable for the Kings...

And in the OHL Monday, it's Game 6 betwen Ottawa and Belleville...a win for the 67s and they move on to Round 2...Game 7, if necessary, back in Ottawa on Tuesday...

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11:46 AM: OK - a couple of quick notes - an Ottawa win today against the Islanders, and they clinch...and, somehow, yesterday, San Jose managed to edge Dallas for the last spot...good thing Phoenix won their game...that whole Western race is just mind boggling...the Stars have gone from 8th, to 3rd and back down to 9th in just four days...

When doing the weekend picks, I got a little intrigued by a comment uLAr made to me - of course, as always, it seems like this season has just flown by - and one thing in particular he said to me - "There better not be a lockout!"...

So this got me to thinking...well, would it be such a bad thing?  I mean the economical ramifications aside - when the NHL isn't playing, thousands of people don't get to work and earn a living - I get that - but has this latest CBA really improved things?  Gary Bettman is always feeding us the usual rhetoric about how attendance continues to rise, how revenues continue to grow, yada yada yada...but, yet...the media's spin on it has always been - well, OK, but there are still a few teams who shall remain nameless who could benefit from a few changes to the agreement...

Suffice it to say - this latest round of "cost certainty" doesn't necessarily mean everything smells like roses...we still have Phoenix struggling to remain afloat, and their future there still remains to be seen...on the other hand, we had Atlanta pack up and move north to Winnipeg this past season, a move that would never have been possible under the old system (which, by the way - we've all seen the Canadian perspectives on this, how Manitoba is ecstatic about having a team back, etc - but did anybody happen to catch the contingent of disgruntled Atlanta Thrashers' fans in the stands in Nashville recently?)

So I look at it this way - it would royally suck to lose any part of another season with the NHLPA and NHL squabbling over an extended or new CBA - but at the end of the day - maybe it's a good thing - maybe, just maybe, if it ever comes to that, we can get rid of Mr. Bettman and his way or the high way of doing things - maybe we can get Wayne Gretzky to go on another rant of epic proportions, and maybe he'll step in as commissioner and clean things up (even though I know based on recent interviews he is quite happy with his life as it is right now) - and on a more selfish level, maybe, just maybe, I can look forward to another Edmonton Oilers' finals run...I joked with uLAr that since we had a New Jersey Stanley Cup back in 1995, after the 48 game shortened season, and then in 2006 the improbable Edmonton run, maybe if there is another lockout - Stanley Cup Final, New Jersey-Edmonton, for all the marbles, and hopefully no hard feelings at the end of it all...careful what you wish for, right?!?

I'm actually not opposed to the current way of doing things, but in my opinion a couple of tweaks would need to be done:

1) Teams should be afforded the ability to dump a high end contract in the event things don't work out (Scott Gomez, I'm looking right in your direction) - without it affecting their salary cap - if not once a year, maybe once every two or three years....I'm sorry, the fact that Alexei Yashin is still part of the Islanders' payroll is just wrong on so many levels...forget the fact that he was seen practicing with the team on that fateful day when his former KHL team's plane went down...

2) Teams should not have to be relegated to 15 players on their roster in the event of injuries just because calling up somebody would put them over the cap - and perhaps more flexibility with respect to "emergency callups" has to be considered...I'm sure the Calgary Flames will be on board with this one...I know Bettman makes the argument that if a team can't properly manage their resources then that's too bad, well that has to change...and again, put in a provision that if a team opts to take advantage of this flexibility, then they aren't eligible to do so for another year or two...

And finally - realignment - get it done...OK, so Winnipeg wouldn't have had a chance in hell at being in the playoff race this late in the season if they were in the West, but they can't continue to share a division with their former Southeast rivals...and furthermore - find a way to get a team back in Quebec...make it happen...and then maybe expand to 32 teams in order to make the realignment proposal actually work...Quebec being one of the two teams...maybe get a team in Vegas or Seattle or wherever else they're considering...one has to think now that Jim Balsillie has stepped down from his position at RIM that he could still own a team yet...

Don't get me wrong - I don't want to see any time lost again - and you can bet one thing this time will be way different than in 2004 - the NBC deal - they will pressure the NHL and NHLPA like there's no tomorrow to get a deal in place - they do not want to lose the opportunity to broadcast any games...

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